FAIL: No evidence at all in Herald’s ‘schoolgirl statistics’ that we have caused any ‘spike’

In the Herald today, their health correspondent, Helen McCardle submits a ‘Primary 7’ project based on utterly meaningless percentage increases in small numbers of cases and missing the bleeding obvious correlation with testing, reported here, and second-marked by Professor Bauld.

Here is the first offending bit:

Now, I know that can look like a big increase to a small person but you’ve used the weekly totals instead of the daily averages to make it look worse than it is. The 7 day average today is 12.4 and last week it was 9.4. The rate in England is between 800 and 1 700 per day depending on whether you accept the PHE or the ONS figures.

When the numbers are so low in the first place, it doesn’t mean anything and you’ve only used the changes in these totals over two weeks. You can’t have a one week trend!

The level fell 70% from 23 to 7 yesterday. Does that mean anything?

When we get down to the regional numbers, which you have based your project on, it’s even less meaningful. There are hundreds of thousands of people in these areas so converting these tiny numbers into percentages is all wrong.

The worst thing in your project submission here has been your failure to read what real experts are saying. In class I told you to follow what Professor Bauld was saying about this. You clearly did not.

Here’s what Prof Bauld said on Reporting Scotland:

So although these numbers are I think slightly concerning they may also be a feature of increased testing.

You like Reporting Scotland don’t you? I thought you watched it to see your wee pal Lisa? I see her wee pal David was on BBC Scotland this morning. He didn’t listen to Professor Bauld either.

I know you don’t like the Tusker but Prof Robertson there presented a report which seems to agree with Prof Bauld. Read it before you resubmit.

15 thoughts on “FAIL: No evidence at all in Herald’s ‘schoolgirl statistics’ that we have caused any ‘spike’”

  1. Sure as hell never ever would i let this quack of a woman anywhere near matters
    Concerning health issues under any circumstances
    As any of her efforts would lead to the severest of spikes and effects of any pathogen
    Suggest she becomes involved in the Sex industry where she could do serious damage to masochists whilst she adorns medical experts attire
    You have been warned

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Still don’t like the increased testing argument as used by Hancock.
    positive cases / people tested should be the measure but I agree extrapolating small numbers is daft.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Along the same track of my
      On increasing no.of cases
      As I stated it is early days but as each day goes by my theory that such is intrinsically linked to test nos.
      And yesterday data backs that up as the no.of tests were 4106 and new cases 7 no
      We are now very much following the pattern seen in Norway who have been one the most successful nations and since the early days of the pandemic in firmly getting and staying in control
      Scotland has now surpassed them in no.of tests/ million of pop.
      By over 30k
      Since Fri.10/7
      New cases
      Norway 68 new cases,tests 158102 i.e 1 case/2325 tests
      Scotland 150 new cases,tests 189313 i.e. 1 case/1262 no tests
      But if you come fwd to 9/7 when Scotland ramped up testing but Norway actually began cutting daily test nos Then
      That clearly demonstrates Scotland has nearly twice the new cases than Norway
      Which backs up theory of the increase testing has increased nos.but certainly not in a alarming way and in fact it shows
      And backs up that the prevalence of the virus in the community is very low and as such can now firmly be kept in check
      Someone on Scottish team is a very clever person by testing to validate and enhance the data they had prior ramp up if tests
      Then dropping nos.back to daily past averages
      Looks like they have found a most useful method of being more accurate with regards prevalence of the virus
      By spending a penny in cheap testing
      And avoiding expensive consequences
      If caught out by a higher actual nos.than their modelling that was influencing their actions
      For same period

      Norway 19
      Scotland 3
      Above is quite remarkable which clearly in medical treatment terms Scotland is surpassing one the Worlds best health care systems
      And given Norway were in full control
      Of the pandemic from the very beginning
      And to date
      No.of cases 9034
      No.of deaths 255
      What a f****ing price Scotland has paid by not having full control from the very begining and in Health Deaths and economic terms This UNION must end soon
      No Unionist can ever ever argue against my last statement
      I would rip them apart if they ever had the audacity to counter me against what is pure science and actual facts derived by accurate data
      Ah but that Unionist beastie is far too sleekit and timerous for that
      I know my Foes

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ‘concerns Scots are becoming “more relaxed”‘.

    No possibility that is coming from outside Scotland then.
    Those damn Scots.
    Heaven forbid they should become more relaxed.
    No source for quote.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Anandrasad
      Concern Scots are becoming more relaxed by her
      Concern ma arse
      The Devil is actually giving us a wee deek at her horns
      Sub consciously she is actually hoping we are and that the no.of cases and deaths increase
      Why because they badly need more bullets for their clapped out weaponry
      For F**ck sake how much lower can they

      Believe me that is the type of enemy we confront
      Know thy Foe

      Liked by 2 people

  4. O/t
    Question for Gary Robertson at the BBC

    Which country interferred most in the Scottish Independence Referendum Russia or England.?
    When are we going to see a report into England’s interference in that Referendum?

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Forget the lumping together of all the constituent parts of the UK in the question by Borwick. The answers saysmuch of which McArdle seems unaware. Never seen “journalism” like it – only since 2014.

    “Q116 Lord Borwick: How successful has the UK’s contact tracing strategy been so far? You have been quite clear that it has not been terribly successful so far, but is that due to the actions taken under that strategy, or is the strategy itself flawed?

    Professor Noel McCarthy: If we are giving it the purpose and goal of substantially decreasing the rate of onward spread, it has not been successful so far. The large majority of cases are not being diagnosed in order to enter the system. When they do enter it, we are finding perhaps only a small proportion of cases, and there is a considerable delay in finding them. Therefore, we are probably preventing very few onward infections, if any, at the moment, but we are finding some clusters and outbreaks, and are intervening in those.

    At the set-up stage, the system was almost guaranteed not to succeed in its purpose, and at this stage our judgment of success is really just based on whether we are improving our mechanisms. There are real difficulties in bringing in this system while there is such a high level of infection and difficulties in releasing other measurements of whether it is good enough to operate at the scale that it needs to, as opposed to being good enough to operate at a smaller scale. So in the short term it will be hard for the system to be a success.

    Lord Borwick: Are you optimistic that it will get better later?

    Professor Noel McCarthy: I am not sure. Doing it well involves quite intense bespoke follow-up for each case. Then, as Professor Pollock keeps saying, when we get to each person and ask them to isolate, that is quite a complicated educative interaction. Trying to do that while there are several thousand cases a day will require a skilled workforce on quite a huge scale. Therefore, improvement to me seems far from guaranteed. If other measures keep the spread moderately low and this system is used on top of those measures, we might get there at a more reasonable pace.”

    Liked by 2 people

  6. A wee look at UK gov testing data. Pillar 2 tests are those done (or not done) by the private companies. They are, as set out below, counted when they are sent out. Note also, please, that they are “typically returned to the labs a few days later. ” Of what possible value are many Pillar 2 tests (those sent out) in breaking the chain of transmission? Any suggestions why over 1 million tests in Pillar 2 are unprocessed? Just not returned or incorrectly administered?

    “All tests in pillar 1 are counted when they are processed by a lab. Tests in pillar 2 are administered in 2 different ways:

    counted when they are sent out
    counted when they are processed by a lab
    Not all tests sent out will be returned to the labs.

    Daily Cumulative
    Pillar 1 tests processed 42,558 3,731,733
    Pillar 2 tests processed 89,134 3,116,667
    Pillar 2 tests sent out 39,669 4,190,331
    Tests that are counted at the time of dispatch are typically returned to the labs a few days later. Therefore, the daily figures of tests processed are not directly comparable to tests dispatched for that day.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. McArdle is simply yet another lazy and at best mediocre churnalist who subscribes entirely to the Herald’s Greater England agenda.

    She’s no better as a propagandist in which role she’s equally dismal.

    However, it seems her bosses at the Herald are satisfied with her. Surely a decent sub-editor would have picked up on her misuse of statistics. Is she simply unable to understand statistics 101? Or is she just using that well known churnalistic /propagandist technique of expressing small changes in small numbers in statistical form to suggest significant, or in this case, concerning increases?
    Either way, the leadership at the Herald seem content to continue to explore new depths in the quality of their product.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.