Coronavirus – the numbers that really matter

May 29, 2020

It seems to me that the BBC and other news agencies seem to think a good story is one which delivers bad news. So when they present the daily Coronavirus statistics they have consistently reported that the cumulative number of deaths in the UK has gone up. Of course they have gone up – that is what cumulative numbers do!

Instead, we should be celebrating the good news – the great news – that the daily number of deaths due to Coronavirus is going down. The best way to measure this is on a 7 day rolling average so that we eliminate the distorting effect of weekend deaths that may not be reported until a few days later. If we look at this – using the Financial Times’ reported numbers – then the daily deaths have reduced from a peak of 943 on 14 April to 250 on 27 May which is a 74% reduction.

Of course we’d all prefer the numbers to be lower still and of course we’d prefer none at all but I really do believe the numbers should be presented in a fairer way so that we, as a nation, can start to judge for ourselves the risks we want to take when emerging from lockdown. I accept that the Government has had to instruct us how to reduce risk but at some stage it has to start allowing us to make our own decisions and to do that the numbers have to be presented in a fairer way.

74% reduction – what a great number! Maybe I am just a ‘glass half full’ type of person but don’t we need a few more of us making points like these?

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