Two Tims (and one Tom) with very different responses to our Test capacity


The need to Test most people in our nation to find out if they have COVID-19 is vital if we are to move on from lockdown towards some form of conventional open society. The suggestion I have read is that in order to achieve the mechanisms for a credible Contact Tracing arrangement, is that around 2.5 Million tests a week would be needed. Presumably this would take 15-20 weeks to test the majority of people in our nation who are wanting to move around rather than stay at home and not see or meet anyone. So the target which Matthew Hancock set at the end of March to achieve 100,000 tests a day is still some way from what is needed for our nation. However once the infrastructure has been achieved which may now be the case, clearly to move from 100,000 a day to 500,000 a day is only a modest change. However whether all of that is right or wrong, what has happened has been a call by a Minister to hit a target and understandably some people felt it was a naïve promise that was a distraction and others felt it was vital as a way of giving carers and NHS and Police staff the chance to be monitored in a meaningful way. So the final results can be seen below in the graph I produced and the arrow shows where we got to at the end of April which was Matthews promise date.

That said, an 80% response or even a 50% response if it had been achieved in a steady way would also have demonstrated that we were getting to the right position in a sustainable manner which is what we really need. The reality is that on St Georges Day the increase was significant from the low 20,000 figures to the high 20,000 figures and then on 26th April the next leap came from the high 20,000’s to an almost 10,000 increase each day which led to 81,611 on 29th April. The challenge with exponential growths are that sometimes they demonstrate an example of pushing all of the efforts into a last minute dash, and based on what I have understood and what Tim Farron is referring to, one of the reasons why the figure hit 122,000 tests was that a huge number of test material was posted out to people on the 30th April so these are not tests but test material and that will shortly emerge if that was the case. Indeed the drop down to 105,000 on 1st May and to 76,000 on 2nd May is an indication that the 30th April was a desperate push. It is inevitable that the figure for yesterday and today when that is measured will be lower than the other numbers so we now need to wait until Tuesday to see if the figures are continuing to stay at 100k+. In the meantime we have had some tweets, two of which are shown here and the third one which was much briefer but came as a response to Matthew Hancocks own tweet and was:

Fair play. Great leadership.

Tom Watson

As for Tim Montgomerie’s tweet it is fascinating that someone who was the creator of the ConservativeHome website and who then left to join The Times newspaper as the newspaper’s comment editor, albeit only for a year or so, but remained a columnist and a regular broadcaster until last year has made the comments he did. He has been a media person for around 20 years and yet wants to criticise other people for making comments that his own comments could easily have matched if he was not working for Boris Johnson at the moment. The reality is that many journalists were simply reflecting the rather slow increase which in my graph started on 10th April so the flat line would have been much longer and perhaps in some cases anticipating the drop down from 100k+ after the end of the month.

When I first wrote this blog earlier today one of my friends who works for the NHS wrote the following tweet:

The sad thing is that a massive effort across the country by Biomedical Scientists to help their communities has been largely ignored because of this counting nonsense. The labs and the staff are ready and aviable, the supply chain is the limiting factor.

Mark Hayllar

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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