Day: 30 June 2020

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What on earth does the Government think it's doing? What possible reason is there for reimposing a full lockdown on Leicester? In an act of sheer lunacy, Matt Hancock announced this morning that non-essential shops have been told to close today and schools asked to shut their doors to the majority of children from Thursday. Pubs, restaurants and hair salons that have been gearing up to re-open on Saturday have now been told to remain closed. The rationale, needless to say, is that Leicester has seen a "surge" in cases, with over 900 new cases in the past two weeks. Confusion surrounded this figure since the published data for Leicester recorded just 80 new positive tests between June 13th and 26th. But Hancock now says there were in fact 944. How do we know the increase in cases isn't simply an artefact of increased testing in Leicester? We don't, obviously. The 80 figure is based on Pillar 1 data, which are from tests done in hospitals; the 944 figure is based on Pillar 2 data, which are from tests done at Government centres or at home and processed by commercial labs. But surely the hospital data are more reliable than the community data – although these are all PCR tests and they're all notoriously unreliable (see this Off-Guardian piece). And ...

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