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Official Statistics Watchdog criticises data used by HM’s Government to justify a second lockdown

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HM’s Government has come under heavy fire by the official statistics watchdog for the way it presented data to justify England’s second lockdown.

The UK Statistics Authority highlighted the use of modelling at Saturday’s TV briefing showing the possible death toll from COVID-19 this winter.

The watchdog said the Government needed to be more transparent about how data and predictions are being made.

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The projections were out of date and over-estimated deaths, it has emerged.

A forecast made by Public Health England and Cambridge University said the country could soon be seeing more than 4,000 deaths a day.

Source: BBC News

The projection was made weeks ago and had forecast there would be 1,000 deaths a day by the end of October when the average was actually four times less than that, this fact was known by the Government at Saturday’s briefing but was not touched on.

The model had already been updated to predict a lower estimate, despite this, it was not used in the briefing fronted by chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty, alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

It is understood the graph was used by the two senior advisers in meetings last week where the decision to impose a nationwide lockdown in England was made.

Sir David Norgrove, chair of the UK Statistics Authority – Source: Google Images

Sir David Norgrove, chair of the UK Statistics Authority, said: “I recognise the pressures faced by all those working on decisions related to coronavirus.

“But full transparency of data used to inform decisions is vital to public understanding and public confidence.”

He went on to describe the whole situation as having been “really unfortunate”.

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