A month in lockdown – U is for underreporting

U2020The A-Z blogging challenge is quite straightforward, blog everyday in April, except Sundays, with subjects that follow the alphabet. It’s all a bit of fun. My subject is ‘A month in lock down’.

U is for underreporting. Every day the latest grisly figures are announced showing the number of people falling ill with COVID-19 or worse, dying. It is a league table that nobody wants to be at the top of. At the time of writing the United States is way out in front in both cases and deaths. The UK is sixth in terms of cases and fifth in terms of deaths, or is it?

Trump keeps highlighting that the numbers from China look very small. It has reported 11% of the cases of its rival economic power and 10%  of the deaths. For the country with the biggest population in the world this does look suspicious. 

The fickle finger of suspicion however, doesn’t just wag at China. The UK itself is not immune. The current reported figures only include deaths in hospital yet there is significant evidence that death in care homes aren’t included and that doctors are being encouraged to notify alternative causes of death. Also only those that die known to have had the disease count and as there is very little testing the numbers dying is underreported. Estimates are that the UK may be underreporting by as much as 50%.

This wouldn’t help our league position at all.

And then there are the less developed countries where reporting is much more difficult in that the bureaucratic structures aren’t in place. Underreporting here is inevitable though without any malicious intent.

Hopefully it will all come out in the wash, once the first few phases are over there will be ample opportunity to review the figures and, hopefully get closer to the truth. The truth however, is a movable feast.

Stay safe.

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