Public Health England's Excel blunder has drastically changed the outlook for the English coronavirus outbreak, and infection rates in the north have increased overnight.
After the discovery that nearly 16,000 "missed" cases had been added to the system, infection rates rose in all agencies in the country except four over the weekend – all in the south.
The cases that were lost in the government system because an Excel spreadsheet reached its maximum size and could not be updated were mostly added in the northwest of the country, with other areas in the northeast and the Midlands also being hard hit.
The technical glitch meant that between September 25 and October 2, 15,841 cases were left out of the reported daily coronavirus cases and not referred to NHS Test and Trace, meaning tens of thousands of infected Brits may have been allowed to roam the streets.
And in a slow recovery from the Excel error on Friday, almost 6,000 Covid carriers remain to be tracked, some of whom received their positive Covid-19 diagnosis two weeks ago.
It is expected that each of these 6,000 wearers would have contacted three to four ignorant people before the isolation began. That is an estimated 18,000 to 24,000 people who have not been told to isolate due to their close contact with covid-19.
Yesterday's rolling 7-day infection rate – how many new cases were diagnosed per 100,000 people in the seven days through October – In large cities like Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham, Newcastle upon Tyne and Liverpool, the spike increased as the lagging data was properly recorded.
In Manchester, now England's Covid-19 hotspot, the infection rate rose 80 percent from 289.4 before the unreported cases were revealed to 529.4 after adding about 3,000 to the city's list. Nottinghams tripled from 100.6 to 382.4, Leeds doubled from 149.3 to 316.8 and Sheffields increased 2.5 times from 110.1 to 286.6.
The analysis – based on government data from the Press Association – Babergh in Suffolk saw the largest increase in the infection rate (791 percent from 2.2 to 19.6), followed by Exeter (326 percent from 61.6 to 262.5) and Fenland in Cambridgeshire (323 percent, from 7.9 to 33.4).
After the discovery that nearly 16,000 "missed" cases had been added to the system, infection rates rose in all agencies in the country except four over the weekend – all in the south. Most of the cases were added in the northwest of the country, with other areas in the northeast and the Midlands also being severely affected
In Manchester, today's Covid-19 hotspot in England, the infection rate – expressed as cases per 100,000 people – rose by 80 percent from 289.4 on October 2 to 529.4 on October 5. The infection rate in Leeds rose 112 percent from 149.3 to 316.8 over the same period
Sheffield's quota rose 160 percent from 100.9 to 286.6. In Nottingham, East Midlands, the case rate tripled from 100.6 to 382.4
The PA News Agency provides the 7-day rolling 7-day rate of new cases of Covid-19 for each local authority in England on a daily basis.
The rate is expressed as the number of infections per 100,000 people. In Manchester, 530 per 100,000 people caught Covid-19 in the past week – that's one in 189 people.
PA yesterday announced current Covid-19 rates based on data in the seven days leading up to October 2, after fixing the bug in reporting cases of PHE on Sunday evening.
It found that the infection rate in 311 authorities in England has increased compared to data from previous days, with only four remaining stable and falling slightly. Isle of Wight, Crawley, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly and Maldon.
On average, the infection rate in each agency has increased 90 percent from the previous count by PA on October 2. The percentage changes ranged from just five percent in Harlow, London, to 791 percent in Babergh.
Heatmaps show how the Northwest suffered significantly from the case census error that Matt Hancock grilled over at the House of Commons today.
Mr. Hancock claimed his department was still looking for contacts but it was unclear "in advance" how many there were, exactly. It was followed by Labour's vice-chairman Angela Rayner, who asked him to resign for having "shamefully" handled the crisis on Good Morning Britain.
EXCEL BLUNDER LOSES 16,000 CASES: HOW DID IT HAPPEN?
Matt Hancock told MPs yesterday that there was a technical problem with the system over the weekend, which brings together data from NHS test sites and tests processed by commercial companies.
Public Health England (PHE) told PA News Agency that the problem was caused by an Excel file that was at its maximum during an automated process.
The spreadsheet used in PHE's legacy software contained too much data from the laboratories and therefore threw off thousands of cases to be forwarded to NHS officials to start contact tracing. They were also not uploaded to the government's public coronavirus dashboard.
According to PHE, the files have now been broken down into smaller, multiple files to prevent the problem from occurring again.
Mr Hancock said it was decided in July that the legacy PHE system needed an upgrade, with orders for a new system to be awarded in August.
Officials from PHE and Test and Trace said the people tested received their Covid-19 test results "normally".
Once the missing cases were reported, officials said the information was given "immediately" to NHS Test and Trace so that contact tracing could begin and those in contact with those who had the virus would be instructed to themselves isolate yourself.
But the mistake will have resulted in an inevitable delay in reaching some contacts.
Labor said yesterday that around 48,000 people who have come into contact with a Covid-19 case may “blessedly not know” that they are spreading the disease if they should be told to self-isolate.
Millions of people in the northwest are already facing stricter Covid-19 restrictions, including a ban on mixing with other households in their own four walls or in public places like the pub.
However, the addition of thousands of cases has raised fears that more areas could be pushed into tougher lockdowns.
Manchester now has the highest rate in England at 529.4 cases per 100,000. That's an increase of 246.4 per 100,000 on October 2, based on data in the seven days through September 25 – before the computer failure.
In the seven days leading up to October 2, a total of 2,927 new cases were recorded.
In the surrounding districts of Salford, Bury and Rochdale in the Greater Manchester area, the seven-day rolling rate rose to 278.2 (plus 77 percent), 253.4 (plus 53 percent) and 287.3 (plus 74 percent), respectively.
Knowsley, a borough of Merseyside, and Liverpool have the second and third highest rates in England at 498.5 (up 76 percent) and 487.1 (up 69 percent), respectively.
Other areas of Merseyside where the seven-day rate has risen sharply are Wirral (up 39 percent to 209.6), Sefton (61 percent to 307.9) and St Helens (up 44 percent to 311.8) .
Lancashire was also hit by the cases. The infection rate from Rossendale rose 55 percent to 223.8, Blackburn with Darwen rose 46 percent to 207.1, Pendle 43 percent to 294.2, Hyndburn 42 percent to 269, and Burnley 21 percent to 411.6.
Further in Yorkshire and Humber, the university cities of Leeds and Sheffield have also seen significant increases in their infection rates.
Sheffield's quota rose 160 percent from 100.9 to 286.6 and Leeds rose 112 percent from 149.3 to 316.8. Bradford, West Yorkshire, also saw a 65 percent increase from 153 to 253.1.
The University of Sheffield's statistics website, Covid-19, showed that nearly 500 students and staff tested positive since the fall semester began last week.
And in Nottingham, where 425 students were diagnosed with Covid-19 in just one week, the case rate increased threefold, from 100.6 to 382.4.
Residents of Nottingham, which has two universities, have reportedly been told to prepare for strict lockdown measures, according to the Telegraph.
All locations listed so far have been subject to stricter restrictions for at least two weeks, some of them longer. There is cause for concern that action in any way does not help suppress cases.
According to the date of sampling rather than the date of government disclosure, the UK had 11,404 cases as of September 30, almost as many as were reported in the next two days combined
PHE MEMO DISCOVERS LOST CASES
The cases removed from the Department of Health's census due to Public Health England's counting error were revealed in a memo to Sky News.
They show that between September 25 and October 2, an average of 8,328 cases were announced per day, with a high of 11,754 on October 2 and a low of 4,044 on September 28. The latter number is unchanged from the Ministry of Health's own count.
The adjusted data suggests that the current average number of daily cases – calculated from the past seven days – is approximately 10,600. This is an increase from an average of 6,100 that would have been seen in the week ending last Monday.
25th of September
Officials' disastrous failure to release data in a timely manner will further exacerbate the problem as local health teams struggle to understand the outbreak.
One of the best virus experts in Leeds ruled the test and trace error "unacceptable" after the city violated the 300 cases per 100,000 lines.
Dr. Stephen Griffin, a viral oncologist at the University of Leeds, said it is difficult for local and national governments to plan responses to Covid cases if they cannot trust the numbers.
He told LeedsLive: 'My first reaction when I saw this was' good sadness'. However, if you look back and look at the data, we've seen the majority in the past few days.
“It's difficult to make a decision about these numbers because we're not sure – it's a real frustration. I don't know what (the government) is going to do now.
"An important aspect of the mix-up was that we really had to understand whether the local measures were working – that will be difficult to understand now."
Newcastle in the northeast saw one of the largest spikes in reported cases at 399.6 per 100,000 people in the seven days ending October 1, up from 256.6 the week before, after adding thousands of new cases.
Near Gateshead, South Tyneside, and North Tyneside, infection rates rose by at least 50 percent. County Durham rose 81 percent.
Newcastle City Council Labor leader Nick Forbes asked how local authorities could make "life-changing decisions" for residents and businesses if they couldn't rely on government data.
Mr Forbes said, “This is yet another catastrophic failure of an incompetent government ruthlessly moving from one preventable disaster to another.
“Throughout the northeast, we called for additional restrictions and measures based on the data available to us. We did not request these changes lightly and made decisions based on information and insight.
“If we can't rely on the data we get from the government, how can we make these life-changing decisions and do what's best for our residents and businesses?
"It is important that we have the right data at the right time so that we can protect our residents, support our businesses and enable our region to recover from this pandemic."
Ministers blamed an Excel spreadsheet error they had been concerned about for weeks and outdated computer software for the 16,000 cases that disappeared in the transfer from PHE to NHS Test and Trace.
Although positive Covid-19 patients have been told they have the disease, only half have been contacted by the NHS to discuss their moves since the bug was first revealed on Friday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was unable to say on Monday morning how many contacts with positive coronavirus cases had been overlooked.
Labor said yesterday that around 48,000 people who have come into contact with a Covid-19 case may “blessedly not know” that they are spreading the disease if they should be told to self-isolate. Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Health Secretary, said testing problems "put lives at risk".
It is not exactly clear how the "Shambolic" event will play out. However, local health chiefs were appalled, wondering how to make decisions based on such unreliable government data.
Mr Hancock said in the House of Commons yesterday, "I want to reassure the House that outbreak control in nursing homes, schools and hospitals is not directly affected, as outbreak management in these environments does not depend primarily on this PHE system."
He said it was decided in July that the legacy PHE system needed an upgrade, with orders for a new system to be awarded in August.
Mr Hancock said it was "critical that we work together to fix these issues that have been encountered even by PHE employees who work hard late Friday night".
He added, "This incident should never have happened, but the team acted quickly to minimize its impact. Now it is important that we work together to correct this and make sure it never happens again."
Regarding the scale of the pandemic, Hancock said the government's assessment had "not changed significantly" after the mistake.
"This morning the Joint Biosecurity Center (JBC) gave me their updated analysis of the epidemic based on the new numbers," he said.
& # 39; The Chief Medical Officer (Chris Whitty) has analyzed that our assessment of the disease and its effects has not changed materially based on these data.
& # 39; The JBC has confirmed that this does not affect the basis on which decisions about local action were made last week. However, this is a serious problem that is currently under extensive investigation. & # 39;
It came after a shocking surge in coronavirus cases was recorded in the UK yesterday. The Department of Health announced 12,594 more positive tests – more than three times the 4,368 recorded two weeks ago – and the first "clean" count since the Excel problem was fixed.
Last Monday's data, which is usually a good reference point, is now unreliable due to a catastrophic counting error at Public Health England which means September 21st will be the last Monday with an accurate number.
|local community||Infection rate (cases per 100,000) before (October 2)||Infection rate (cases per 100,000) after (October 5)||Percentage change||Case change (cases per 100,000)|
|Newcastle upon Tyne||239.4||434.9||82%||195.5|
|Blackburn with Darwen||142.3||207.1||46%||64.8|
|Redcar and Cleveland||60.5||135.6||124%||75.1|
|Oadby and Wigston||63.1||121||92%||57.9|
|Cheshire West and Chester||69.1||118.3||71%||49.2|
|Newark and Sherwood||84.1||98.8||17%||14.7|
|East Riding of Yorkshire||51.3||90.3||76%||39|
|Richmond upon Thames||36.9||86.4||134%||49.5|
|North East Derbyshire||37.5||85.7||129%||48.2|
|Hackney and City of London||44||84.6||92%||40.6|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||38.3||62.7||64%||24.4|
|Hinckley and Bosworth||37.1||61||64%||23.9|
|Windsor and Maidenhead||26.4||60.1||128%||33.7|
|Nuneaton and Bedworth||37||60.1||62%||23.1|
|Telford and Wrekin||37.8||56.7||50%||18.9|
|Kingston upon Thames||29.3||55.8||90%||26.5|
|Bark and Dagenham||48.4||55||14%||6.6|
|North East Lincolnshire||25.7||54.5||112%||28.8|
|Bath and North East Somerset||26.4||48.1||82%||21.7|
|Epsom and Ewell||17.4||47.1||171%||29.7|
|Kensington and Chelsea||25.6||46.1||80%||20.5|
|Brighton and Hove||21.7||43.7||101%||22nd|
|Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole||25.3||40.5||60%||15.2|
|White Horse Valley||14.7||40.4||175%||25.7|
|Somerset West and Taunton||16.1||34.8||116%||18.7|
|King & # 39; s Lynn and West Norfolk||13.9||25.8||86%||11.9|
|Forest of Dean||19.6||25.3||29%||5.7|
|Reigate and Banstead||10.8||24.2||124%||13.4|
|Cornwall and Isles of Scilly||24.8||21.3||-14%||-3.5|
|Tonbridge and Malling||9.8||21.2||116%||11.4|
|Basingstoke and Deane||9.6||18.1||89%||8.5|
|Folkestone and Hythe||8.8||14.2||61%||5.4|
|Isle of Wight||6.3||6.3||0%||0|
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