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[league of graphs]Fear over freedom: Here’s what the doom-laden government graphs didn’t show us

Update time:2021-07-15 15:22Tag:

  As ever at Downing Street press conferences, Boris Johnson’s scientific advisers deployed their graphs skilfully to back up the warnings of potential catastrophe.

  The by now all-too-familiar vertiginous lines were intended to leave the public in no doubt about the consequences of not delaying freedom until July 19.

  But take a closer look?and the choice of graphs is arguably disingenuous: the slides are most revealing for what they failed to include.

  We were shown a graph comparing the change in the proportion of under?and over-65s admitted to hospital in January and in May/June.

  This showed a big jump in the under-65s column, a point Prof?Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, took pains to emphasise.

  The problem is that this fails to show just how much lower the raw numbers are now.

  In reality, there were 95,172 admissions for Covid in England between Jan?1 and 28, compared with?2,851 between?May 16 and June 12.

  However, a brief glance at the Downing Street graph – and that’s all the general public will have had the chance to do – could well give the impression that the situation in hospitals is worse than last winter.

  This comparison is also weakened by the timing chosen by the Government.

  Cases are generally distributed in younger age groups towards the start of a period of opening up, as these people are more likely to return to work in person or to socialise.

  In September, at the start of the second wave, those aged?18-to-64?comprised 51 per cent of admissions compared with?60 per cent in May.?This was higher than it was for the over-65 age group.

  The Telegraph’s own graph below – showing, crucially, the actual numbers of patients in hospitals – demonstrates how incomparably better the current situation is.