FACTCHECK: Despite it all Scotland DID do better with this pandemic

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I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve rebutted the blatant lies from Ian Murray, Alister Kerr, both Brians and many others, including even well-disposed English journalists but the beast will not die, judging by Neil Mackay today.

So, to arm you, here is a short summary of facts with the links to the proof:

  1. As of today, over the six months of the pandemic, the infection level in England has been 35% higher [5 849 per 1m in England compared to 4 315 per 1m in Scotland] and the death level has been 45% higher [658 per 1m compared to 458 per 1m] than in Scotland. From ONS and NRS data [1].
  2. In the last 7 days, the average death rate in Scotland is 0.9 [2] whereas for the UK it is 21.6 [3], crudely 24 times higher but twice as high per head of population.
  3. The gap could have been greater if Scotland had been independent and able to decide when to lock-down as opposed to having to wait until late March for powers to be devolved, by which time the virus was everywhere [4].
  4. Contact tracing in Scotland is operating at 99% efficiency [5]. This compares with between only 53% [6] and 79% [7] in England.
  5. According to UK Gov data in the Times, Covid test booking attempts were between 80% and 100% successful in Scotland while only between 20% and 60% successful in England and Wales [8].
  6. Care homes in England experienced the highest increase in excess deaths at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to those in the rest of the UK. Care homes in England recorded a 79 percent increase in excess deaths, compared to 66 percent in Wales, 62 percent in Scotland and 46 percent in Northern Ireland [9].
  7. Two large studies by the ONS and the voluntary sector care home-owner, MHA, found very strong evidence that the virus was inadvertently spread through care homes by temporary agency staff [10], [11].
  8. There is NO evidence from any research that, in Scotland at least, the discharge of patients from hospitals into care homes caused the spread of the virus.
  9. The BMJ has made clear that the root cause of infections in care homes was corporate greed [12] .

[1] https://www.travellingtabby.com/uk-coronavirus-tracker/

[2] https://www.travellingtabby.com/scotland-coronavirus-tracker/

[3] https://www.travellingtabby.com/uk-coronavirus-tracker/

[4] https://www.gov.scot/news/coronavirus-bill/

[5] https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-update-first-ministers-speech-19-august-2020/

[6] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-53663510

[7] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-test-and-trace-england-and-coronavirus-testing-uk-statistics-30-july-to-5-august-2020/weekly-statistics-for-nhs-test-and-trace-england-and-coronavirus-testing-uk-30-july-to-5-august

[8] https://talkingupscotlandtwo.com/2020/09/19/covid-testing-system-working-well-in-scotland/

[9] https://www.stir.ac.uk/news/2020/august-2020-news/care-homes-in-england-had-greatest-increase-in-excess-deaths-at-height-of-the-covid-19-pandemic/

[10]  https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/articles/impactofcoronavirusincarehomesinenglandvivaldi/26mayto19june2020#main-points

[11] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52912538

[12] https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/09/14/the-root-cause-of-excess-covid-infections-in-the-care-home-sector-30-years-of-market-driven-policies/#disqus_thread

3 thoughts on “FACTCHECK: Despite it all Scotland DID do better with this pandemic”

  1. Another recent blog by the author of your reference [12], David Rowland, who is the Director of the Centre for Health and the Public Interest –
    “There is an urgent need to review the UK’s system of communicable disease control administration and its public health laws”
    https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/communicable-disease-control-administration/

    Clearly he has no Scottish axe to grind, but he recognises that the Scottish Government has limited powers, and agrees with your oft-made points about lockdown policies –

    “Looked at from a UK wide perspective, the unstable devolution settlement compounds the problems of co-ordination and blurs the picture about who is ultimately in charge. Whilst the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 provides Ministers in Westminster with emergency powers covering the whole of the UK, the current devolution settlement has allowed elected representatives in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to take different approaches to managing the pandemic. Thus, decisions about school openings, care homes, the wearing of face masks and the relaxation of lockdown have been approached differently across the four nations.

    However, it is unclear whether the current constitutional settlement will be able to accommodate a fundamental difference in policy objectives towards the pandemic. If the Westminster government’s approach is to live with COVID 19 – as appears to be the case – it will not also be possible for the governments of Scotland and Wales to also seek to eradicate the disease, which is their stated policy goal. This is due to the fact that decisions about entry into the UK and population movement across the internal borders of the UK are ultimately made by Ministers in Westminster. In addition, Westminster still holds the economic levers which determine the sustainability of lockdown policies in the four nations – most importantly, the vast economic safety net which includes sick pay levels and the furlough scheme. Any reduction in these benefits impacts significantly on local attempts to prevent potentially infectious people from working.”

    He makes many other good points, including this damning indictment of the UK government –

    “All of this confusion about who is responsible for delivering the basic public health response has been made worse by the UK’s fetish for outsourcing and privatisation. In England the government has handed over responsibility for contact tracing to private companies, who in turn have sub-contracted these functions to other companies. There is currently almost no transparency about what these companies have been asked to do, or to whom they are answerable.”

    Liked by 3 people

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