Nadine Dorries was appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in Johnson’s recent cabinet reshuffle.
Have a look at the Wikipedia article on her and ask yourself one question: Is she a fit person to be a Secretary of State?
I used to think that the cabinet was largely composed of second rate politicians. Dorries’ appointment (and the rest of the recent cabinet reshuffle) has made me revise that opinion. I now think that the cabinet is largely composed of third-rate politicians.
What on earth have we done to deserve this shambles?
More specifically a message to the Rt Hon Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. We are most distinctly not American. We don’t need to flags as “a proud reminder of our history and the ties that bind us”. That’s actually one of the things that makes us British.
Five local authorities in England now have a 7-Day Case Rate below 100:
North Devon 63.8
North East Lincolnshire 90.9
However there are ten which have a case rate higher than 500 and a massive 201 with a case rates above 250.
There are 315 local authorities in England at least for the purposes of this exercise there are! (The Isles of Scilly figures are always included with those of Cornwall, and the City of London is included with Hackney.)
More than 60% of English local authorities have a case rate higher than 250 and more than 98% have a case rate higher than 100.
Contrast this with Germany where ‘only’ 36% have a case rate higher than 100! Their highest case rate is 340.2, England’s highest is 684.7 (twice as high).
So when people (usually new breed Conservatives) tell you that this government is doing a good job, don’t believe them. To be fair, the vaccination programme is going well. However even there, there are concerns. For example, the exceedingly small number of people who have received a second vaccination.
The government shouldn’t be comparing its performance against countries that are doing badly, but against countries that are doing well.
A comparison between the Covid-19 seven day case rates in German local authorities and those in English local authorities.
Germany is in blue and England is in red.
The vertical axis show the number of local authorities and the horizontal axis shows the case rates. The latter are divided into ‘bins’. The first ‘bin’ shows the number of authorities with case rates between 0 and 25 (there’s just one authority in that ‘bin), the second ‘bin’ shows the number of authorities with case rates between 25 and 50 (this contains 22 local authorities) all the way to the final ‘bin’ which shows cases rates between 975 and 1,000.
Note the very wide range of case rates in England – ranging from 55.7 in Torridge to 961.1 in Knowsley. The lowest case rate in Germany (24.3) is in Kreis Friesland and the highest (426.6) is in Burgenlandkreis. It’s easy to see that Germany has much lower case rates than England.
On 12 January North Devon had the second lowest seven day case rate (111.2) of any local authority in England – beaten by Torridge (90.8).
Devon is in the bottom five so-called Upper Tier Local Authorities (counties and unitary authorities) with a case rate of 205. North Lincolnshire has the lowest case rate of 149.7.
The worst hit local authority is Knowsley in the North West, which has a case rate of 1,273.3!
Contrast this with Germany: their highest case rate is 601.8. No other German local authority has a case rate higher than 500, and 70 (out of a total of 412) have a case rate lower than Torridge!! Germany’s lowest case rate, in Zweibrücken, is 32.2.
Almost a third of England’s local authorities (91 out of 315) have a case rate higher than Germany’s highest case rate.
And people still say that Johnson and his cabinet of incompetents are doing a good job under the circumstances! To me it’s quite clear that they’re not.
Apparently Public Health England were using the xls file format to upload Track and Trace data into Excel templates. The issue is that this file format can only handle 256 columns and 65,536 rows. Apparently each test result generates several rows of data (why?) and thus the templates could only handle about 1,400 cases. Anymore than this and the data was just truncated.
The latest version of the Excel file format (xlsx) can handle 1,048,576 rows and 16,384 columns.
Were PHE using a massively outdated version of Excel? Or were they just incompetent?
In any event datasets such is thus should be handled by a database (e.g. Access or Oracle) rather than a spreadsheet program.