Recent blip but shocking 70% more infections in England during pandemic

‘Scotland has the highest infection rate in UK!’

Our media are triumphant. At last they have something ‘good’ to shout about. Just as they did with drug deaths and recently when they thought support for independence was falling, this story is everywhere.

As with the 4 weeks, only in October 2020, when we had more Covid deaths than England, enabling Andrew Marr to shout about it to the FM, the infection rate in Scotland is currently higher than in England but only after many months when it was far lower:

Far more important, but less reported, over the pandemic the infection rate in England, has been 70% higher:

Asked by BBC Scotland to explain the recent increase, Professor Bauld said:

I think there are a few things going on. There is definitely a schools effect which we always expected and you can see in the testing figures that there are quite a few younger people coming forward with symptoms and having tests. And we have also had some issues in local authority areas in Scotland. There were big numbers in West Lothian recently.

Top Glasgow cop blasts Rangers' 'lack of support' amid 'disgraceful' George  Square scenes - Daily Record
Image PA

I have questions. If it’s a ‘schools effect’ why did the level only increase dramatically in areas closest to George Square in Glasgow? There are many schools in Aberdeenshire, Angus, Highland and Edinburgh yet no ‘school effect’ is visible. Why did the increases begin in Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Ayrshire in the days and weeks after Sunday 7th March?

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19 thoughts on “Recent blip but shocking 70% more infections in England during pandemic

  1. When I saw this in a news item I decided to compare the number of cases in Scotland v England. I’ve seen talk about percentages of positive cases – but England make it difficult to find what those percentages are, whereas Scotland doesn’t.

    So I decided to compare the total number of cases per million by age. England breaks it down further, so I put all the relevant age groups together.

    Suffering from dyscalculia, firstly I apologise in advance if the addition’s out. I can even confuse a calculator! I *think* they’re OK.

    Secondly, my ability to analyse numerical data is a little impaired, so please correct me if I’m wrong. It looks to me as if these totals per million are considerably higher – eg 6.77 (45-64) and just over 7.2 in the case of the 25-44 group.

    I’m assuming that part of this is the number of people in those age groups who’ve HAD to go into work or not get paid.

    If I’m doing things right, the over 65s aren’t impressive either! Our figures look high, but… The 85+ group seems shockingly high too – very nearly 3 times more cases. As are the 75-84 group. 65-74s are well over 3 times higher.

    Anyway, here they are – please let me know if I’ve misinterpreted:

    TOTAL CASES per 1m Population
    0-14 = (England) 93,713 (Scotland) 17,885
    15-19 = (England) 79,325 (Scotland) 51,262
    20-24 = (England) 96,425 (Scotland) 57,937
    25-44 = (England) 355,315 (Scotland) 48,856
    45-64 = (England) 287022 (Scotland) 42,371
    65-74 = (England) 74,067 (Scotland) 22,490
    75-84 = (England) 92,742 (Scotland) 31,638
    85+ = (England) 211,926 (Scotland) 70,685

    Liked by 3 people

    1. And look at the figure for under 14s!

      Am I correct in thinking that that means that something like 5.2m (93,713 x 56) English children have had Covid? That can’t be right, surely…

      Of course, all those figures above are therefore even worse than they sound, aren’t they? It’s 93,713x 56 (5,247,928) v 17,885×6.5 (116,252)

      Hopefully, somebody will come along and say “Step away from the calculator, usedta. It doesn’t work like that.”. preferably before I compare over 75s…


      1. No – I see what I’ve done! That ISN’T how it works. That per million, not total figures!

        Phew. (B£00&y dyscalculia – sends my perception of what I’m looking at totally haywire… *blush* )

        Liked by 1 person

  2. My statistical skill are poor, and I wouldn’t have the confidence to even try an analysis. I’d like to suggest the difference in infections rates reflects cultural difference between the nations. Scots historically tending to be more communitarian in outlook. Though I was out and about today (Dundee), at school chucking-out time (near a secondary school), and was dismayed at the lack of mask usage. Especially by the kids. So I’m stumped as to explaining the apparent difference.

    Folk who are hostile to wearing masks, could do worse than checking out “Wearing face masks in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic: altruism and solidarity”, published April 16, 2020, in the Lancet.


  3. I know my statistical skill are poor, so wouldn’t even try. I have been trying to post some observations I made today, when out and about, along with some health advice published April 16, 2020, in the Lancet. Though nothing appears to have appeared.


    1. Yes, Alex, I’d agree. That’s why I’m a bit frustrated that the English figures seem so difficult to find. (Well, they are for me – Google is only my friend when I can pin it to the floor and choke the information out of it!)

      Fortunately our obfuscating, opaque, FM and Medical Advisers told us that number fluctuations are less important than the %ages a long time ago and, despite memory lapses, doesn’t forget to give us such information on a regular basis. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. John at travelling tabby has removed the england testing figures from his site. Their testing records don’t allow comparison with Scotland Ireland or Wales


        1. I remembered that – it’s just they don’t seem to be published anywhere else in a dummy-friendly fashion either.

          So, let me get this straight:
          * their testing records aren’t comparable with the Colonials’
          * their track and trace is different from at least ours and NI’s – not sure about Wales
          * their vaccination philosophy doesn’t seem to be completely in tandem with the Celtic Fringe

          Aren’t you reassured by the seamless performance made possible only through Our Precious Union? I know I am…

          Liked by 1 person

  4. It seems to me that with the celebrations after Rangers won the league, we only focus on the mass outdoor celebrations and may be missing the main cause of increased cases linked to Rangers winning the league. If large numbers were prepared to break the rules in public then it seems likely that even greater numbers would be prepared to break the rules in private in small gatherings of multiple households celebrating winning the league (and same thing may have happened again after last Sunday’s Old Firm game).

    The chance of transmission outdoors is much lower than indoors and I suspect the case number rise in Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Ayrshire might have been due to a large number of private indoor celebrations rather than the mass outdoor gatherings. The impact on case numbers of these small gatherings might have been missed as the focus has been on whether Test & Protect linked cases to the mass gatherings in, for example, George Square.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I appreciate the risk of outdoor transmission is greatly reduced, and that given yesterday was windy, at least in Dundee, any risk would likely have been reduced even further. But as Alex points out, what you see outdoors points to what you don’t see indoors. And its highly unlikely that the non-masked (the majority), will become the minority indoors. This means Scotland does have a problem with poor public health practice in the community, which can be expected to undermine the effort to get on top of the pandemic.


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