It is Time to Stop Obsessing Over Covid Figures

There’s a good piece in the Mail on Sunday today questioning whether it’s sensible for the Government to continue updating the Covid dashboard every day, given how obsessed we’ve all become with the data. In January, the dashboard attracted 76 million views in a single day!

They’re the figures that have ruled our lives for the past 18 months; decided our freedoms; deepened our fears.

The Covid dashboard published on the U.K. Government website has offered the public a window into the state of the U.K.’s epidemic, displaying daily Covid cases, hospitalisations and deaths, both nationally and regionally, since April 2020.

Some people have avoided looking at the figures – published at 4pm every day, including weekends. But a surprising number of us have become secretly addicted to poring over them.

Back in January, the dashboard attracted 76 million views in a single day. In more recent months, the dashboard has offered a source of celebration, thanks to the addition of the vaccination tally.

Scientists and politicians alike agree the U.K.’s Covid dashboard has been a resounding success, allowing the public to draw their own conclusions about the level of threat the virus poses to them.

It’s also been a crucial yardstick for how stretched the NHS is, providing exact figures of how many Covid patients are in each hospital around the country.

But now, with nearly eight in ten Britons protected against getting seriously ill, thanks to the vaccine, are daily Covid figures still necessary?

After all, as Health Secretary Sajid Javid said of the virus earlier this summer: “We cannot eliminate it, instead we have to learn to live with it.”

There is growing concern from experts that the endless figures do more harm than good. Some have declared the tally of daily infections “completely meaningless”.

“It shouldn’t really matter how many people are catching the virus – as long as they are protected,” says Professor Jackie Cassell, public health expert at Brighton and Sussex Medical School.

Other scientists have warned of the psychological impact of constant reminders of how many people are still catching Covid.

Worth reading in full.