John Bye Profile picture
22 Nov, 14 tweets, 6 min read
The @DailyMailUK and @RossjournoClark have published another article downplaying the second wave, which got a government health warning from @DHSCgovuk, who said it was "misleading".

That's putting it mildly.

Here are a few of the issues I spotted...
1) They claim half of all hospitals don't have any covid-19 patients.

That's because they counted mental health units, cosmetic surgeries, community health centres and specialist units like Moorfields Eye Hospital. These would NEVER treat covid patients.

2) They claim 1,293 less hospital beds are occupied than last November.

But they're comparing one day (November 5th) in 2020 to the average for a whole quarter (October to December) in 2019!

NOT the November average, as they say.

This clearly isn't a useful comparison.
It also ignores the fact that hospitals in the hardest hit areas have been cancelling some non-urgent surgery to make space for the rising number of covid patients.

Just because hospitals aren't overflowing doesn't mean there isn't a problem.…
They've also ignored the NHS' note that "caution should be exercised in comparing overall occupancy rates between this year and previous years" because hospitals have had to be reorganised to keep covid and non-covid patients separate as far as possible.…
The NHS says that this means "in general hospitals will experience capacity pressures at lower overall occupancy rates than would previously have been the case".

Which doesn't bode well if occupancy is already close to where it would normally be at this time of year.
The Daily Mail does admit "some hospitals are under pressure".

But the number of beds occupied in the *entire North West region* was already above last year's average for the quarter when the quarter began.

Just because some areas are quieter doesn't mean there isn't a problem.
3) They claim less critical care beds are occupied than average.

But they compared the 5 year average of occupancy on the last Thursday of November to Sunday 8th November this year!

Occupancy can change by 5% from one day to the next, so this isn't a useful comparison either.
And again, they're ignoring the impact of surgery being delayed to free up beds (including critical care beds) for covid patients.…
4) They claim there are no significant excess deaths.

This simply isn't true. In week 45 (which they left off their graph) deaths were 14% above average and 11% above the 5 year high.

No amount of "adjustments for population growth" will change this.

In fact, the "population adjustments" in their graph don't make sense.

In week 44 it says the 5 year maximum was 10,861 deaths, when the actual figure quoted by the ONS is 10,146.

That's a 7% adjustment.

But England's population has only gone up by half that amount since 2015!
So while it's fair to say that things aren't as bad as some of the worst case scenarios modelled by the likes of PHE and Imperial College, the situation also isn't as rosy as the Daily Mail suggests.

A lot of their figures are misleading, misrepresented or simply wrong.

NHS hospital activity reports:…

NHS Critical Care data for 2020:…

NHS Critical Care data for previous years:…

NHS Bed Occupancy data:…
Latest ONS deaths data:…

Historic ONS deaths data:…

ONS population growth data:…

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with John Bye

John Bye Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @_johnbye

20 Nov
So where we are is:

1) Priti Patel claims she didn't know that shouting and swearing at people working for you is bad.

2) Boris Johnson is fine with this kind of behaviour from his ministers.

3) His adviser on ministerial standards isn't, and has promptly resigned.
Lest we forget, Patel is no stranger to breaching ministerial standards, after she was caught having secret meetings with the Israeli government while supposedly on holiday, and was forced to resign from her job as International Development Secretary.…
And now the senior civil servant whose departure from the Home Office sparked the investigation has weighed in, saying that, contrary to Patel's claims that she didn't know she was upsetting people, he'd talked to her repeatedly about her behaviour.

Read 5 tweets
6 Nov
Biden is almost 4 million votes ahead nationwide, but the outcome of the US election came down to a few thousand votes in 4 states.

Thanks to the electoral college, 33 of 50 states didn't get a single visit from either candidate.

There was no point even contesting most states!
It's not like this is a new problem.

The electoral college was a fine idea in theory, 230 years ago. But it broke down within a few years.

After two centuries of tinkering with local and national rules it's just a confusing mess that bears no resemblance to the original idea.
In an increasingly polarised two party system, where 48 out of 50 states give all their electors to the candidate who gets the most votes, it's horribly broken.

All the effort usually goes into fighting a handful of "battleground states" while everyone else is taken for granted.
Read 6 tweets
5 Nov
This week's Test & Trace report is out, showing cases continuing to rise last week, despite a dip in testing.

Test turnaround times continued to improve, but both testing and contact tracing are still performing far below the levels they need to reach to be effective.
The government claimed big increases in lab capacity last week, but the number of tests done and people tested in England actually dipped slightly compared to the previous week.

Despite this more people tested positive, leading to another rise in positivity rates.
In fact, the only Pillar 2 testing that went up was "Satellite" tests, which is mostly regular screening of asymptomatic care home staff and residents.

If you strip repeat tests out, the positivity rate for people tested for the first time in the community reached almost 24%!
Read 16 tweets
4 Nov
Here we go again. The government just released updated guidance for schools, a few hours before it takes effect as the second lockdown begins.
At the end of August the government updated (pretty much all of) their guidance for schools a few days before schools reopened after the summer. Leaving them with the bank holiday weekend to prepare.

And then in September they pulled the same trick on universities.

Read 5 tweets
3 Nov
A lot of covid sceptics are sharing this story today.

The first claim it makes (about a "dodgy hospital heatmap") is very obviously wrong though.

The Daily Mail is either deliberately trying to mislead people or (just as likely) doesn't understand what it's talking about.
They say 232 of 482 English hospitals had NO covid patients on October 27th.

But the vast majority of those have NEVER had covid patients, because they're private hospitals, mental health units, specialist hospitals etc, many with no general or acute care beds to put them in!
175 of the 232 hospitals without covid patients are private hospitals (including cosmetic surgeries and mental health centres).

Unsurprisingly, 170 of them haven't had a single covid patient in at least the last 3 months. Because that's not what private hospitals generally do.
Read 7 tweets
2 Nov
The government claims to have hit its target of expanding lab capacity to 500,000 "virus" tests a day.

As with their 100,000 tests a day target in April though, there's been a rather suspicious last minute surge to reach the target which, just a week ago, looked hopeless.
Back in April the government pulled this off by counting 40,000 tests they'd put in the post as "done", even though they hadn't been used and actually processed in a lab yet.

In fact, we now know they didn't really hit 100,000 tests a day until May 20th.

The latest surge comes almost entirely from Pillar 1 (NHS and PHE) lab capacity.

This hasn't increased AT ALL for 4 months, but now we're expected to believe it suddenly doubled in 4 days, just in time to hit an arbitrary target.

And oddly none of this capacity is being used.
Read 11 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!