"PM is using extremely misleading data to trigger lockdowns," says public health expert

13 October 2020, 18:52 | Updated: 13 October 2020, 19:02

By Fiona Jones

Public health professor Allyson Pollock told LBC's Eddie Mair that one of the Government's "biggest problems" is they are using data to trigger lockdowns which is both "extremely foggy and misleading."

Sir Keir Starmer has called for a two to three-week "circuit break" national lockdown after the Prime Minister rejected the request from his top scientists and instead unveiled a three tier lockdown system.

The Labour leader said the figures are "stark and heading in the wrong direction," adding that the Government has "lost control of the virus" and is "no longer following scientific advice."

Following this statement, public health professor Allyson Pollock pointed out the World Health Organisation has cautioned against using national lockdowns due to its implications for those of lower income.

"We need to know really what the evidence is for them. That's one of the big problems, the Government has not provided us with a very strong evidential basis for any of these, such as the pubs closing at ten...the rule of six, only two households.

"One of the big problems is the Government is using data which is extremely foggy and misleading to trigger these lockdowns," Professor Pollock said.

The data the Government should be looking at is threefold, she said: cases in the community, hospital admissions and ultimately deaths.

"The big problem with the test is it isn't a test for actual infection or infectiousness, it simply tells you whether you've got bits of the RNA for the virus - but it doesn't actually tell you whether you're transmitting the virus and infectious," she explained. The RNA is referring to the genetic makeup of this particular virus.

"What the Government has done is it's taking testing out of health services, having it standalone, it's privatised it and it's doing a huge amount of testing which is indiscriminate. It's not been targeted through primary care and GPs at the symptomatic patients and that's really where it needs to go," she said.

The professor also pointed out the issue of reporting deaths related to coronavirus; the figures for both Office for National Statistics and Public Health England are using different definitions as to what is considered a Covid death.

Ultimately, she said, Covid deaths need to be put into perspective due to the mounting deaths from other causes.