Given the comedic misinterpretation of the South African testing data offered by @BallouxFrancois (and many others!) last night ... I offer some tips having contributed to the analysis of the testing data for the @nicd_sa since April last year. (1/6)
1. The daily tests announced are those that are LOADED that day. The test may have been conducted several days/weeks earlier. What those daily reports mean is pretty hard to interpret. (2/6)
2. The VOLUME of daily tests is highly periodic, low on weekends, for example. The count of CASES is also highly periodic. But the proportion testing positive is ALSO periodic - so it's not a case of the two periodicities in cases and tests cancelling each other out. (3/6)
3. We know that many negative Ag test results are NOT loaded AT ALL. EVER. AND that delays in loading Ag test results are longer than delays in loading PCR results. (4/6)
It therefore follows that any proper analysis of the South African testing data HAS TO (at the very least)
* analyse by date of collection (not reporting)
* analyse PCR tests distinct from Ag tests
* monitor differentials in public/private testing (5/6)
All of these are offered in the weekly NICD report, published here:… (6/6)

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More from @tomtom_m

8 Dec
Latest @MRCza and @UCT_news report on excess deaths in South Africa released, covering the week to 4Dec21. 276 000 excess natural deaths since 3May20. 191k in 2021. Report here:…
There is no clear signal yet of W4 mortality yet in the provinces and metros with the highest numbers of cases to date.
Measured by the p-score, excess natural deaths increased slightly to 25% this week (just over 2000 deaths), highest in Eastern Cape (46%), lowest in Northern Cape (9.4%).
Read 8 tweets
1 Dec
Latest @MRC and @UCT_news report on excess mortality in South Africa released, covering the period through 27Nov21. 273k estimated excess natural deaths since 3May2020, 647 in the last week. Report here:…
At present, no sign of increased natural mortality in South Africa, Gauteng, or indeed Tshwane metro.
p-scores for natural deaths are at interwave lows (8.3% nationally, ranging from -4.5% in Gauteng to 39% in the Northern Cape.
By age, p-scores fell in all age-groups other than 5-19. Deaths are few in this age band, so the p-score inherently unstable. #NotToBeOverInterpreted
Read 13 tweets
29 Nov
On developed country privilege, and the marginalisation of the global South in much of what passes as Covid public science: a view from the South. A thread. 1/20
I do not intend to engage on the topic of the disproportionate and hypocritical treatment meted out by countries of the North to Southern Africa and Southern Africans stemming from the identification of the omicron variant. 2/20
I, and many others far more erudite than I, have already expressed those views (see, for example @tuliodna @_HassanF; @gregggonsalves; @GYamey) 3/20
Read 21 tweets
28 Jul
Latest @MRCza and @UCT_news report out on excess deaths, covering the period to 24 July 2021. 10 500 excess deaths in the week to 24 July 2021, bringing the total excess natural deaths since 3 May 2020 to 214 000. 130 000 of those in 2021. Report here:…
20 000 natural deaths this week, still below the peak of 24 000 at the top of wave 2. Complex pattern may emerge in the next few weeks as Gauteng and its metros decrease, while other provinces (and metros) increase.
Nationally, natural deaths this week 119% of expected. Gauteng 181% (down from 210% last week). P-scores in other provinces increasing: NW (165%); LP (157%); MP (138%). Big increase in KZN to 100% (2x expected deaths), up from 51% last week.
Read 5 tweets
14 Jul
Latest @MRCza and @UCT_news excess deaths report out, covering the week to 10Jul21. 193k excess natural deaths since 3May20. 7300 in the week 4-10Jul21, up from 6000 in the previous week.
Report here:…
Deaths in Gauteng continue to rise, but appear to be nearing a peak in the province; still increasingly quite strongly in Johannesburg. Both substantially higher than in Waves 1 or 2. Natural deaths in Gauteng this week 3x higher than expected.
Western Cape also increasing.
p-scores (excess natural deaths as a % of expected) rising in almost every province. Nationally, natural deaths 80% higher than expected. Limpopo and Mpumalanga, 2x. Western Cape 50% higher than expected.
Read 7 tweets
7 Jul
New @MRCza and @UCT_news report on excess deaths released, covering week to 3Jul21. 182 300 excess natural deaths since 3May20, 99 500 since the start of the year. Report available here:…
Excess natural deaths in Gauteng, as well as its metros, continue to rise. Natural deaths in the week to 3Jul21 nearly 3x higher than expected. Weekly natural deaths in the province are at historic highs.
Nationally, natural deaths in the week to 3Jul21 were 57% higher than expected (last week 44%), and more than 50% higher than expected in NC and NW (with a weekly decline in the latter). WC natural deaths 25% higher (last week, 17%). A sharp increase in Limpopo (45% this week)
Read 7 tweets

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