How have the ‘missing’ coronavirus cases impacted daily figures?
Written by Rother Radio News on 05/10/2020
Thousands of coronavirus cases in England have been missed from official government figures for days after an apparent “IT failure”.
The government said a technical issue caused 15,841 cases between 25 September and 2 October to not be published.
These missed cases have now been included in the last two days’ official figures – making the daily coronavirus cases appear much higher.
The problem is believed to be due to a technical error with an Excel spreadsheet, PA news agency has reported.
Public Health England has said that although the tests were not reported in official figures, everyone who tested positive was made aware and told to self-isolate.
The majority of the missing cases were from the beginning of October, although the technical issue began on 24 September.
Breakdown of missing cases
|Missing cases||Original figure||Actual total|
Some 4,133 cases were missed on 1 October and 4,786 on 2 October.
It means that although nearly 7,000 cases were reported on both days, the true figure was over 11,000.
At the end of September, the cases reported were closer to the actual figures, with 957 cases missed on 25 September, 744 on 26 September and 757 on 27 September.
No cases were missed on 28 September, despite the technical issue.
The issue has meant that reported cases over the past two days have been artificially high, as a large number of the infections were backdated.
On 3 October, 12,872 cases were reported – a huge jump from the 6,968 announced the day before.
A further 22,961 infections were reported on 4 October.
It is not clear how the backdated figures were spread across these two days or what the actual figures for each day are.
The additional cases mean the weekly rate of infections has soared in dozens of areas of England, with analysis showing that Manchester now has the highest rate in England.
Some 2,740 cases were recorded in the seven days to 1 October – the equivalent of 495.6 cases per 100,000 people and up from 223.2 in the previous week.
Liverpool has the second highest rate, up from 287.1 to 456.4, while sharp rises have also been recorded in Knowsley, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nottingham, Leeds and Sheffield.
Many of these cities in the North are places with large universities, so the return of students and outbreaks in universities could be at least partially behind the sudden increase.
However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the areas worst-hit by the virus are still where health officials expected them to be – meaning the issue should not have affected postcode lockdown decisions.
“The incidence that we are seeing in the cases corresponds to pretty much where we thought we were,” he told reporters.
The updated figures also appear to be more in line with other studies, including the REACT survey which suggested one in 200 people in England were infected with coronavirus between 18-26 September.
© Sky News 2020