Friday 4 December 2020

Fudging The Figures?

Is the Scottish Government fudging the figures?

Sometimes what a Government doesn't say can be just as important as what they do say.

For example, we know there are currently 279 hospitals in Scotland and 585 ICU beds available with mechanical ventilation.

Today, John Swinney from the Scottish Government presented the usual daily briefing (not sure where Nicola was, she doesn't seem to do Fridays any more, perhaps she likes a long weekend, who knows).

In the figures John Swinney presented today, he said that 965 people are currently in hospital with the virus.

But what he didn't say is that if you divide that figure of 965 by the number of hospitals in Scotland (279), the average number of people in hospital in Scotland with the virus right now is less than 4 people per hospital.

Next, he said that there are 65 people with the virus in ICU's today. 

Again, what he didn't say is this means that probably 214 hospitals in Scotland (77% of our hospitals) have NO patients in ICU with the virus today. 

Nor did he say that this also means only 12% of our ICU bed capacity for virus patients is currently being used today.

Let me be clear, I’m not trying to play down the seriousness of this virus, I’ve had it myself and it was pretty nasty, I couldn’t breathe properly for 2 days, and it was a scary time. I’m absolutely not a virus denier, nor am I anti-vax.

I’m just curious why the Scottish government are so keen to give us virus figures every day but don’t seem quite so keen to give us proper context to those figures?

Politicians will always present data in a way that suits their own political agenda and I'm fine with that, it's just politics. 

But this disease is different. The virus figures are vitally important to all of us. Lives and livelihoods are being lost every day due to the decisions our politicians are making. When you have a disease like this which is so severe that politicians are willing to destroy a whole economy because of it, it's not something insignificant. 

It's perfectly reasonable that we should expect full transparency and full explanations illustrating the proper context to the figures the Scottish government throw out at us each day. 

I love fudge, I just get wary when politicians try to sell it to me. 

Because when they do, the only thing that's usually been cooked is the books, and the only fudge you get in the end is their fudged figures.