Discover more from Where are the numbers? by Norman Fenton and Martin Neil
More on the inconsistency between the official NHS "COVID Pathways" data and the official "COVID cases" data
I recently posted this article which highlighted the remarkable divergence between people reporting COVID symptoms through the NHS and the 'official' number of cases. Specifically, I was talking about the difference between the daily data reported at https://digital.nhs.uk/dashboards/nhs-pathways (which catalogues all NHS COVID triage pathways through 999 calls, 111 calls and 111-online accesses) and the daily case data reported at https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/cases.
Several people provided reasonable explanations for the divergence, including the fact that whereas in March and April lots of people were using 111 online to report symptoms, the widespread introduction of track and trace apps in June meant there was no longer much need to use 111 online. However, the most pertinent explanation was that the 999 calls data does not include all 999 ambulance service calls related to COVID. This is certainly true of London.
But it turns out that, for certain areas including the North East and West Midlands, the 999 calls data does include the 999 ambulance service calls (see screenshot below). So I used the filtering option to display only the plot of 999 calls for one of these areas (West Midlands) and compared it to the plot of cases for the same area.
As you can see, we still have the same divergence. As the 999 COVID triage data for the West Midlands includes all 999 ambulance calls it should be a very reliable indicator of patients ill with COVID symptoms. This provides further evidence that many of the COVID 'cases' (and similarly 'hospital admissions' and 'deaths') are being misclassified.
But it turns