Like the Sun, I tell a lie, it’s 80% of cases contacted in 72 hours

The Herald still on it yesterday.

For 4 or 5 days now absolutely every opposition party leader and all of the media, have been jumping with glee after discovering that Public Health Scotland’s spreadsheet algorithm had an error leading to it suggesting that a higher percentage of covid cases were contacted in 24 hours and, they shouted, versions of the Chris Musson’s:

Corrected data shows that in five of eight weeks in September and October, Test and Protect staff failed to contact about half of positive cases within 24 hours of  being notified of swab results.

As they celebrated what they thought was a rare point scored over ‘Nic’, they missed something. The UK advisory group in May had called for 80% to be contacted within 48 hours. There is no mention I can see of an agreed 24 hour target for this:

Using this as a target, in only one week (ending 27 September), was it missed, with a score of 74%, but then Tusker reader George S Gordon spotted this:

At least 80 per cent of the close contacts of anyone infected with Covid-19 must be traced and isolated within 72 hours for the system to be effective, according to the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.

In the week in question, 86% were contacted within 72 hours and more than 90% in the other weeks in the period ‘researched’ by Musson.

There does seem to be a loose 24 hour ‘target’ for the return of test results from the labs to the contact tracing teams but that’s a different matter:

Graham Medley, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) and chair of its subcommittee on modelling, said that returning test results “ideally within 24 hours” was as critical as capacity in a successful test-and-trace system. He said if necessary, capacity should be curbed in favour of speed.

It’s probably too late to put this fire out now. Luckily the people are not being kidded, judging by the polls.

2 thoughts on “Like the Sun, I tell a lie, it’s 80% of cases contacted in 72 hours

  1. Indeed, PQ did a splash piece on it also, amplifying the numbers not contacted for maximum effect.
    The the trite “it showed Test and Protect was not working as well as it should” was absent any hint of what different strategy might address it, perhaps sending Dickie and Turdo round with baseball bats, or Glenn Campbell doing a “seek them here, seek them there” video pastiche for dramatic effect, or Roothie on a tank?
    Naturally Leotard and “the Mooth” get a platform, but it is Davidson’s “People accept mistakes will be made – but they expect government to hold their hands up, not bury the figures” which was the most scurrilous, perhaps she’ll be sending Johnson and Hancock similar advice ?
    All this from a simple (and minor) programming error none but the programmer could identify.
    While the Scots of every political shade are grateful SG, T&T and SNHS are doing so well in a pandemic, this contrived propaganda does the anti-SNP mob little if any credit.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Imagine for one moment, that say, Labour, HQ’d in London but in charge in Scotland, were responsible for managing this pandemic in Scotland. There would be people dying on the streets,
    hospitals would be full to bursting, well the ones they didn’t close down to sell off the land that is, like they planned to do with Edinburgh’s Western Gen. The investment in Scotland’s NHS, in health infrastructure, is no mean feat in the few years that the SNP have been in office. (reduced ‘budget’ from taxes taken by EngGov and all).
    The media so called, should be shouting from the rooftops, how that investment, in this situation now, is actually saving many many lives in Scotland. It could have been a very different situation indeed. A chilling thought.


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