British health chiefs have been damned by statistical supervision for claiming that 200,000 people catch Omicron every day

British health chiefs damned by watchdog for claiming that 200,000 people caught the Omicron Covid variant every day before Christmas, even though they “did not support the data” at the time

  • The United Kingdom Health Security Agency has been reprimanded by the Office for Statistics Regulation
  • The data used by Sajid Javid caused “confusion” without supporting data
  • The baseline data used for the estimate was published two days later










The UK’s public health authority has been criticized by the Statistics Office for claiming that 200,000 people caught Omicron daily, which was not substantiated.

The United Kingdom Health and Safety Agency (UKHSA), led by Dame Jenny Harries, was reprimanded by the Statistical Regulatory Authority (OSR) for data released by Sajid Javid late last year.

Its leader, Ed Humpherson, said the statement “caused confusion and some media speculation, which diverts attention from the message that statistics convey.”

The baseline data used for the estimate was published two days later.

HSA and Health Minister Sajid Javid have been accused of spreading fear after gloomy models were shared with MPs on December 14.

His comments in the Omicron threat statement have caused immediate confusion as to whether this number applies to the virus as a whole or to the supermutant variant in particular.

The United Kingdom Health and Safety Agency (UKHSA), led by Dame Jenny Harries, was reprimanded by the Statistical Regulatory Authority (OSR) for data released by Sajid Javid late last year.

The United Kingdom Health and Safety Agency (UKHSA), led by Dame Jenny Harries, was reprimanded by the Statistical Regulatory Authority (OSR) for data released by Sajid Javid late last year.

HSA and Health Minister Sajid Javid have been accused of spreading fear after gloomy models were shared with MPs on December 14 (pictured)

HSA and Health Minister Sajid Javid have been accused of spreading fear after gloomy models were shared with MPs on December 14 (pictured)

Health Ministry insiders later confirmed that he was right when he indicated that Omicron cases had reached 200,000 a day.

But in a letter sent in December but revealed today to the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Humpherson said the statement was “initially unsubstantiated data.”

“This has caused confusion and some speculation in the media, which distracts from the report that the statistics convey,” he added.

“On December 16, an explanation of the methodology used to determine the daily number of infections was published. OSR has previously made clear its expectation that data and methods should be made available to all equally before any planned statement is made.

“Transparency of the data used to inform decisions is essential for public understanding and confidence. In this case, the delay between using the image and publishing the data was unsatisfactory.

In a letter to the UKHSA, Ed Humpherson, head of the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR), wrote:

This has caused confusion and some speculation in the media, which distracts from the message that statistics convey.

“An explanation of the methodology used to determine the daily number of infected was published on December 16. OSR has previously made clear its expectation that data and methods should be equally accessible to all before any planned statement is made. the public and their confidence.

“In this case, the delay between using the image and publishing the data was unsatisfactory.”

At the time, experts today questioned the pessimistic projection, with one of the country’s leading statisticians questioning the calculation.

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter of the University of Cambridge told MailOnline: “To get 200,000, they would have to expect a doubling time of 1.75 days or more.

“It’s very frustrating, to put it mildly, that such high and surprising numbers are given without any publicly available justification.”

Medicine professor and consultant oncologist Karol Sikora joined the criticism by saying that the government was deliberately “scaring” the population to receive booster benefits.

“It’s alarming and everything is part of a deliberate PR trick to get people a helping hand,” he said.

“It’s not a bad idea to get a booster, but you saw the system creak under pressure yesterday.”

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