Basic arithmetical limitations in Herald reporting could cause undue panic

In the Herald yesterday:

NICOLA Sturgeon warned that Scots are in “danger of dropping our guard”, after the number of new Covid cases exceeded 20 for the third time in four days.

and further down the page:

It comes after 21 cases were reported on Saturday and 23 on Sunday – the first time since June 21 that cases have topped 20.

The Herald makes regular requests for financial support from the public for its journalism yet it regularly fails to inform, choosing often to try to shock in the manner of the gutter press.

The clear implication is that these increases are both large and a cause for serious concern.

Here’s what Prof Bauld said on Reporting Scotland a few days ago:

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

The Herald does not consider this.

Why does Bauld think these increases are only slightly concerning?

Well, of course, because they may be due to increased testing but also, I suspect, because in context they remain very small. The 7 day average for Scotland is 15.1.

Even if we accept the Public Health England figures rather than the larger ONS ones, for England on Monday 20th, there were 535 new cases up from 497 in the previous week. https://twitter.com/UKCovid19Stats/status/1285234771640098817/photo/1

I can’t find 7 day averages for England alone – Public Health England prefers to hide them within UK figures.

England has ten times the population so you might expect it to have ten times the cases, 151, but it had 535, between 3 and 4 times higher. Wouldn’t that be useful, to put the Scottish figures into perspective and to inform readers as to how they might rationally respond to them?

6 thoughts on “Basic arithmetical limitations in Herald reporting could cause undue panic

  1. Is this of any use, John? It is from ONS.

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronaviruscovid19infectionsurveypilot/england17july2020?hootPostID=4a6190590407a8939ad8d96bceea7481

    “In this bulletin, we refer to the number of current coronavirus (COVID-19) infections within the community population; community in this instance refers to private residential households, and it excludes those in hospitals, care homes or other institutional settings…

    …We estimate around 1 in 2,300 individuals within the community population in England had COVID-19 within the most recent week, from 6 July to 12 July 2020.

    This equates to an estimated 24,000 people (95% credible interval: 15,000 to 34,000).

    During the most recent week (6 July to 12 July), we estimate there were around two new COVID-19 infections for every 10,000 individuals in the community population in England, equating to around 1,700 new cases per day (95% confidence interval: 700 to 4,200).”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s been a long time since the Herald and those who produce its content have been remotely interested in providing anything like objective analysis. It ‘s now essentially a propaganda rag filled with the same anti-Scottish independence bile found in such free thinking titles as the Daily Heil and the Daily Smear.

    Liked by 1 person

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