Matt Hancock has ordered an urgent review into how Public Health England (PHE) calculates daily COVID-19 death figures.
It comes after scientists said they believed PHE was “over-exaggerating” the daily coronavirus death toll, by counting people if they die of any cause at any time after testing positive for the disease.
Professor Yoon K Loke, of the University of East Anglia, and Carl Heneghan, professor of evidence-based medicine at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care, said on Thursday night that a “statistical flaw” in the way PHE compiles data on deaths created a disparity in figures published by the different UK nations.
“It seems that PHE regularly looks for people on the NHS database who have ever tested positive, and simply checks to see if they are still alive or not,” they wrote. “PHE does not appear to consider how long ago the Covid test result was, nor whether the person has been successfully treated in hospital and discharged to the community. Anyone who has tested Covid-positive but subsequently died at a later date of any cause will be included on the PHE Covid death figures.”
Read full story
Source: The Independent, 17 July 2020