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Coronavirus (COVID-19): New Developments, Calculating Discrepancies, and Analysing Intel Stories

UK-specific numbers

As of 17 April 2020:

TOTAL CASES: 108,692.

ACTIVE CASES: 93,772

PATIENTS WHO DIED: 14,576.

PATIENTS DISCHARGED: 344.

How can I check the UK numbers for myself?

The GOV (2020) has recently created a more accessible dashboard at coronavirus.data.gov.uk. By visiting such link you will be able to access the number of total cases, the number of lab-confirmed daily cases, the number of total deaths, and the number of daily deaths.

For more specific statistical information, such as the total number of active cases, and the percentage of cases per 1 million population, visit worldometers.info/coronavirus.

How can I calculate the number of recoveries?

You can calculate the recoveries by subtracting the total of active cases and the total deaths from the total number of cases, much like the following formula:

#total cases – #active cases – #deaths = #recoveries.

108692 – 93772 – 14576 = 344.

Is the number of recoveries being reported appropriately?

No. There is something suspicious about the number of recorded recoveries. The number ‘344’ as calculated above was first published on the 9th April, 2020. Since then, Worldometers (2020) has been showing “N/A” in the relevant UK box only. This gives the impression that nobody else has recovered, or has been discharged from hospital since then. However, the evidence shows that such is not the case. For instance, the media (Cooper, 2020) reported that prime minister Boris Johnson was discharged from hospital on the 12th April, 2020. Nevertheless, the number of recoveries continued to show as 344. Furthermore, there have also been news coverages of patients who have been treated successfully and have consequently been discharged from hospital, such as the story published on BBC News (2020) featuring a 106 years old patient who was discharged from Birmingham’s City Hospital on the 15th April, 2020. Yet, the numbers did not register this or any other recovery, and as can be seen from the above calculation, the number continues to add up to 344. All this shows that there is something wrong with the numbers, and this by all means causes anxiety to those who want to have a clear understanding of the death rate in the UK. It is also demotivating to those who are making efforts to follow the medical advice available.

Why are accurate numbers crucial to good mental health?

In order for people to make good decisions through the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential that the threat is appraised correctly. With false information, life can feel too uncertain to cope with, and some might develop feelings of confusion, panic and consequential self-neglect. Trusting in our government and in our newspapers has never been more important. Losing such trust can elicit disorder, and reduce health behaviours associated with a stable response. In order for people to successfully follow protocol, and to be motivated to self-protect, the information has to be free from deception. In order to allow the public to feel efficient in their efforts, the number of recoveries should be publicised, not skewed or censored. Whilst death is indeed a tragic stimulus, taking into account recoveries can serve as a positive reinforcement to those working in the frontline, and to those self-isolating. We do not want to enter a collective state of despair and depression. We are already experiencing a collective state of grief. This is why it is so crucial to report all numbers accurately, not just the bad ones. As the government continues to neglect and censor the good news, hope is being taken away from the British people, and that is by all means unfair and unacceptable.

Are there any new major developments?

After things had relaxed in China, and as of the date of this writing, there has been a new high record of reported deaths. In the past few days and weeks, China had been reporting less than 10 deaths per day, however, today it has again reported 1,290 deaths (Worldometers, 2020) which is certainly a reason to worry as it was thought that the crisis was over in China, and this is why the Chinese government was easing on its restrictions as reported by the The Guardian (Falush, 2020) at the end of March. This is certainly worth taking into account, especially since there have been fears of a second wave of the outbreak.

Moreover, here I share 5 stories that I personally found worth mentioning:

  • 13th March: Barrett (2020) reported concerns from the United States about some statements made by the Chinese government which claimed that the US military allegedly took the coronavirus to Wuhan. The US has responded by classifying the meetings related this conversation. This has led some journalists to feel that the COVID-19 crisis has the potential to trigger WWIII [read here].
  • 30th March: Guy et al. (2020) reported that the Spanish Royal, Princess Maria Teresa died of coronavirus [read here].
  • 9th April: Fiorillo (2020) reported that at least 150 members of the Saudi Royal family have become infected with the coronavirus and patients are being moved from hospitals in order to make room for the privileged [read here].
  • 11th April: BBC Newsround (2020) reported that animals all around the world are taking over the empty cities since the global quarantine has made human beings disappear from normally crowded spaces [read here].
  • 12th April: Sabbagh (2020) reported that the UK’s intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6 have urged the government of the UK to reconsider the industrial relationship we have with China after the crisis has ended due to suspicions [read here].

References

Barrett, K. (2020) ‘US biological warfare against China could lead to World War III’, PressTV, 13 March [Online]. Available at https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/03/13/620800/US-biological-warfare-against-China-could-lead-to-WW3 (Accessed 17 April 2020).

BBC News (2020) ‘Coronavirus: “Oldest” patient discharged from Birmingham hospital’, 15 April [Online]. Available at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-52296196 (Accessed 17 April 2020).

BBC Newsround (2020) ‘Coronavirus: Animals takeover cities during self-isolation’, 11 April [Online]. Available at https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/51977924 (Accessed 17 April 2020).

Cooper, C. (2020) ‘Boris Johnson discharged from hospital’, Politico, 12 April [Online]. Available at https://www.politico.eu/article/boris-johnson-discharged-from-hospital/ (Accessed 17 April 2020).

Falush, D. (2020) ‘As the west is in lockdown, China is slowly getting back to business’, The Guardian, 30 March [Online]. Available at https://www.theguardian.com/world/commentisfree/2020/mar/30/lockdown-china-coronavirus-outbreak (Accessed 17 April 2020).

Fiorillo, C. (2020) ‘At least 150 Saudi royals have coronavirus as patients are moved out of top hospitals to make way for “the elite”‘, The Sun, 9th April [Online]. Available at https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/11362826/saudi-royal-family-coronavirus-elite-hospital/ (Accessed 17th April 2020).

GOV.UK (2020) ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the UK’, 17 April [Online]. Available at https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ (Accessed 17 April 2020).

Guy, J., Ramsay, M. and Lister, T. (2020) ‘Spanish princess becomes first royal to die from coronavirus’, CNN, 30 March [Online]. Available at https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/30/europe/spanish-princess-coronavirus-death-scli-intl/index.html (Accessed 17 April 2020).

Sabbagh, D. (2020) ‘UK spy agencies urge China rethink once Covid-19 crisis is over’, The Guardian, 12th April [Online]. Available at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/12/uk-spy-agencies-urge-china-rethink-once-covid-19-crisis-is-over (Accessed 17 April 2020).

Worldometers (2020) ‘Reported Cases and Deaths by Country, Territory, or Conveyance’, in COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, 17 April [Online]. Available at https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries (Accessed 17 April 2020).

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