Caller trusts government to reopen schools, but is skeptical of official statistics

10 August 2020, 14:33 | Updated: 10 August 2020, 14:56

By Seán Hickey

This caller said she doesn't think official statistics on coronavirus have been accurate, but will be sending her children back to school in September.

James O'Brien was having a hard time finding callers who had confidence that schools would be safe for children to return to. Caroline called in to tell James that people need to look "outside the sort of sensational stories that you see in the newspaper," to make a reasoned judgement on the matter.

James reminded the mother that "people listening to this programme have buried relatives.

"To describe the highest excess death rate in Europe as a sensational story is actually quite insensitive." Caroline accepted that the excess death numbers are horrendous, but coronavirus deaths may have been exaggerated.

She told James that there have been "people dying of cancer in hospital, if they get Covid they go down as a case death," and this has contributed to an over the top coronavirus death rate.

"Matt Hancock tried this line and it obviously worked on you," James quipped.

"I wanted someone who could provide that one perspective on how you can have faith in the government and the answer is 'I don't trust the statistics that the government releases,'" he added.

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

James broke down Caroline's argument further, noting that the only reason that she's confident in sending her child back to school is because she doesn't trust the statistics being shown by the media.

"I'm looking at the highest death rate in Europe but you're saying it's not accurate, I'm looking at the protective ring around care homes but you're telling me that's all the fault of care home managers."

James asked if the caller thought the government had done anything wrong since March. She told him that "they probably caved in too much to media pressure and hysterical reaction to all this."