Scotland’s Covid app far calmer than England’s excitable version

Douglas Fraser✒️🎥🎙 (@BBCDouglasF) | Twitter
Image: Words Fail Me Inc

Bespectacled, bearded older guy, Douglas Fraser, BBC Business/economy editor, Scotland is clearly, like me, a tad smarter than the weans at Pacific Quay.

In his fantastically witty piece titled Covid in Scotland: Shelf isolation and the United Pingdom, he reports some crazy numbers, man:

Scotland seems to be avoiding the huge hit to business from the NHS Covid app in England, sending vast numbers of “pings” that tell people they have to self-isolate. In only one week this month, England had 520,000 pings of the contact-tracing app. Entire business critical teams are off work. Since its launch last September, the Protect Scotland app has had fewer than 60,000 notification “pings” in total, which should be for those within two metres of an infected person for at least 15 minutes.

What, we’ve had 60 000 pings in 10 months and England has had perhaps 5.2 million in the same period? 86 times more?

Douglas does grudgingly note that we’ve had lower infections but that ‘the patterns have not been so different.’

What do patterns have to do with anything? Over the piece we’ve had just over half as many infections. Not enough to account for that massive ping gap.

He then suggests:

A further reason may be that the NHS England app is combined with a code scanner with which people can register their presence in a restaurant or pub. The Scottish app lacks that incentive to download it, and to keep it active. Figures show around half of those who originally downloaded the Scottish app no longer have it active. There is no equivalent figure for the English app.

There may be something in that first suggestion but Scots are more likely to disable the app? Hmm.

Reading on, Fraser refers to experts who seem to be reinforcing the notion that the English is hypersensitive by by that much?

18 thoughts on “Scotland’s Covid app far calmer than England’s excitable version

  1. Scotland provides a separate App to register at restaurants etc, called Check In Scotland and it works perfectly. As for the Protect Scotland app, it works quietly in the background even when closed. So like you, I find it hard to believe people are disabling it.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Freedonia , the Pingdom of Boris The Liar , where no one is ever more than one Ping from Shutdown ( like Lockdown but completely ”irreversible !” )

    Liked by 3 people

  3. So how do the “experts” explain the English version being “hypersensitive”, the differing performance of Bluetooth in England’s moral vacuum, or the English metre is marginally shorter the closer you get the black hole of London politics?

    There may be minor differences in the programs, but essentially they do the same thing, distance and time, whatever other code is included has no bearing on fundamentals of science unless you’re from Eton.

    This latest “pingmageddon” nonsense is more about denial England has higher prevalence of infection than they care to admit, as the plebs should be back earning money for businesses for the sake of their mental health.

    I note the BBC Scotland webpage is pushing the “Covid in Scotland: Critical workers to be exempt from self-isolation” story with the telltale “it is understood” caveats, implying SG are going along with the blonde lunatic and Hartley-Brewer “freedum” drive.
    Bowie will have had a fresh smirk ironed no doubt…

    Liked by 5 people

  4. It’s amazing that the linked BBC article on people uninstalling the Protect Scotland app fails to mention that people change phones fairly regularly.

    When someone changes their phone they would stop using the app on their old phone and download it again on their new phone so would count as two downloads but one active user.

    On average, people change their phone every 26 months so for an app released almost 11 months ago, you would expect a significant proportion of users to have changed phones in that time. This probably accounts for slightly less than half the users the BBC thinks no longer use the app.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. “Patterns are not so different”: A bit of dogwhistling. The statement is actually true, but is seeking to imply that the Scottish system has not done any better.

    The ‘patterns’ of infections across the world are not so different from each other, but the scales can be vastly different. An epidemic in Malta, for example, would probably show the same ‘pattern’ as one in China, but, in China would involve millions, whereas the one in Malta, just hundreds.

    Such comparisons really have to have a per capita aspect to be ‘fair’. In New Zealand, where the epidemic was managed very well, the ‘shape’ of the pattern, would be similar to the pattern in England, where it was managed badly, but the per capita rate for England is many times higher.

    So, the ‘pattern’ for the tracing app in Scotland is likely to be the same as that for England, but, taking the per capita data, the app used in England appears to be operating in a problematic way.

    What BBC Scotland (And DRoss, SLab, and the former party once led by a buffoon called Wuggie) is doing in its customary obfuscatory way is to use UK data, which are bad’ and use them in a Scottish context.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. The BBC News website today (Friday) has on its Scotland page the usual free advertising of newspapers.

    The BBC’s headline here is: “Scotland’s papers: Shop staff exempt from isolation amid ‘panic buying’. ”

    Now it’s not really possible to read more of the front pages on this web page than the headlines and sub-heads. Scrolling through I found phrases such as: ‘threatens store stocks’; ‘urged against panic buying’; ‘shelves will be emptied’; ‘warn that unless’.

    The use of future and conditional tenses is the norm in the headlines – EXCEPT in the BBC Scotland headline which tells us we are ‘amid’ panic buying i.e. in the here and now!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I don’t know if I’m being too sensitive or not but when I click on the ‘todays papers’ Section of BBC Scotland website, the papers listed first are always The Times or The Scotsman etc. You have to scroll to near the bottom to get to The National

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not ‘too sensitive’, Sam. And once becoming alert to it, it’s hard to miss, hard to ignore ever again!

        As to the actual newspaper brands given prominence in the BBC’s free online marketing, one could muse about the website editor’s use of a ‘negativity ranking’ algorithm designed especially for Scottish news.

        One might even muse about using an adaptation of a decision support tool developed to assist the editors on Reporting Scotland (RS) when they are selecting/ordering items for their programme every night. (I suspect RS’ programme makers no longer need any decision support tool any more: the process has become second nature.)

        Such ‘musings’ may be a fun pastime but to evidence that reinforces your point Sam: I posted this btl here on JULY 13, 2021:

        “Today’s BBC News website’s ‘Scotland’ page has its usual section advertising newspaper front pages. It has this headline: ‘Scotland’s papers: ‘Don’t delay freedom day’ and caution pleas’.

        “Something like 19 front pages in Scotland feature on the BBC website. Two have headlines that are framed in line with the ‘don’t delay’ message – yes, just two out of 19. …

        “Can you guess which of the newspaper front pages are given most prominence, that appear number one and two in the BBC’s advertising? I’m sure you will have guessed correctly. They are the ‘don’t delay freedom day’ minority.”

        Liked by 1 person

    2. It is also that in a number of them – Mail, Express, Times (London), Record, Telegraph, Sun, Star – the exact same phrases are used, and, of course BBC Scotland uses the same words. When they interview DRoss, of some SLABber, or a person from a non-party, with a resigning leader, who has a strange relationship with a sheep, the same phrases are deployed.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Professor Reicher pointed out on GMS this morning, about 08.20, that there are about 9K deletions of Test and Protect, that this is less than 1/2% of T&P downloads, and that media should publicise that there are about 2 million downloads of T&P. (He also pointed out that the real problem is not the level of pings [in UK], but the level of infection which causes the pings.)

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I heard the interview and he was much more forcefully assertive than I had heard him previously. It was almost as if he had had enough of the carefully measured language which, as an academic and a member of an advisory group, he had been using up to then. He certainly put the sleekit worm-tongued Laura Maxwell’s gas at a peep.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. “He certainly put the sleekit worm-tongued Laura Maxwell’s gas at a peep”.

        As did Kate Forbes

        S W-T’d LM. As your advisory group is full of experts, why do you feel the need to . . . . Ask the public dpfor ideas

        KF. . . . . “Because it’s a good idea” . . . . . Ta ra

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Ehm @john….
    I can’t post the screengrab here but did on FB illustrating the duplicity of HMS Sarah Smith. The screengrab was two minutes old at the time, the article in question titled “England’s Covid infection rate overtakes Scotland”, when you open said article the headline reads “Covid infections around the UK continue to rise”.
    Haven’t read the article yet…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Brexit. The shelves are empty. The EU workers have left. Just as predicted. The Tories total mess and shambles.

    Any diversion. Any excuse.


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