COVID-19: More than 1,300 people given positive coronavirus result in error by NHS Test and Trace due to chemicals issue | UK News

More than 1,300 people were incorrectly told they had coronavirus after a lab error at NHS Test and Trace.

The department of health and social care said 1,311 people who were tested between 19 November and 23 November were wrongly told they had tested positive.

The issue was apparently down to an problem with a batch of testing chemicals, and the results were subsequently voided.

A DHSC spokesman said: “Swift action is being taken to notify those affected and they are being asked to take another test, and to continue to self-isolate if they have symptoms.

“This laboratory error was an isolated incident and is being fully investigated to ensure this does not happen again.”

A total of 1,283 cases were removed from the government’s COVID dashboard on Friday as they had been reported in error.

As of 9am on Friday, government figures showed that 16,022 more people had tested positive for coronavirus in the UK – bringing the total to 1,589,301.

The troubled Test and Trace service has so far been given funding worth around £22 billion this financial year – around a fifth the annual budget of the NHS.

Boris Johnson has admitted there have been “teething problems” with NHS Test and Trace, but insisted it was value for money.

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Autumn Nations rugby results, news, scores: France beat Scotland, Stuart Hogg ‘schoolboy’ error, England, Wales win

Scotland captain Stuart Hogg admitted he had made a “schoolboy error” after a failure to find touch denied his side the chance of a dramatic draw against France at Murrayfield on Sunday.

There were already 80 minutes on the clock when Scotland, seven points down and needing a converted try to draw level were awarded a penalty by English referee Wayne Barnes.

At that stage it was imperative full-back Hogg find touch with his kick to give Scotland the chance of a line-out near the French try-line.

But his overhit effort went dead, allowing France to run out 22-15 winners, with ‘Les Bleus’ on course to play in the Autumn Nations Cup final in a fortnight provided they do not suffer a shock Pool B reverse against Italy next week.

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Sydney Sixers fined, administration error, Hayley Silver-Holmes

The Sydney Sixers have been fined $25,000 following an “administration error” during their WBBL match against the Melbourne Renegades on Saturday evening.

Despite not being in the club’s official 15-player squad, the Sixers listed pace bowler Hayley Silver-Holmes on their team sheet for the T20 match at North Sydney Oval.

Upon realising their mistake, the Sixers self-reported the error and sidelined Silver-Holmes, who did not bat or field during the encounter.

The Sixers appeared before Cricket Australia’s Senior Conduct Commissioner Alan Sullivan QC on Sunday, and were subsequently fined $25,000 of which $15,000 was suspended for 12 months.

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“In hearing the matter, Mr Sullivan acknowledged the seriousness of the breach, but also acknowledged the fact the Sixers had self-reported and moved swiftly to remove Silver-Holmes from the match after realising the error,” the WBBL said in a statement.

“The maximum penalty of $50,000 and/or further sanctions were not deemed appropriate given the nature of the breach and the fact Sixers lost the match and adversely impacted their Net Run Rate.”

READ MORE: Healy goes completely nuts in WBBL blitz

Sydney Sixers General Manager Jodie Hawkins confirmed the club had accepted the sanction.

“We made a regrettable administrative error for which there are understandably stringent rules,” Hawkins said in a statement.

“We were given a fair opportunity to present our case in the hearing and accept the findings and sanction.

“As a club we will learn from this and put processes in place for the future.”

CA’s Head of Big Bash Leagues Alistair Dobson commended the Sixers for their swift action and co-operation in addressing the error.

“We echo Alan Sullivan QC’s praise for the Sixers’ self-reporting and actions undertaken to minimise the impact of the breach on last night’s match,” Dobson said in a statement.

Despite a classy half-century from wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy, the Sixers lost Saturday evening’s match by six wickets.

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House Judiciary Committee Commits Its Own “Type I Error” By Criticizing Judge Easterbrook Article

The House Judiciary Committee Antitrust Subcommittee’s majority staff report on antitrust takes aim at now-Seventh Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook’s seminal law review article The Limits of Antitrust. In that article, Judge Easterbrook explained the risks with overenforcement of antitrust law. Because of these risks, he urged erring on the side of caution. In statistical terms, he advocated avoiding Type I errors. Today, Judge Easterbrook’s position is considered mainstream.  

Yet the report suggests Congress repudiate Judge Easterbrook’s position. As an alternative, the report urges Congress to say that cautious antitrust enforcement is as harmful as overenforcement. Congress should reject this plea because Judge Easterbrook was right. The Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and courts should continue to recognize that “antitrust is an imperfect tool for the regulation of competition.” Since it is an imperfect science, we should strive to avoid Type I errors.

In the real world, judges and policymakers lack perfect information about markets, competitors, and consumers. Without perfect information, it is impossible to flawlessly enforce antitrust laws. Rather, enforcement agencies make mistakes. Sometimes, a business will get away with anticompetitive behavior because of this imperfect information. Other times, a company will get sanctioned because of pro-competitive behavior. Unless we live in the House Judiciary Committee’s fantasyland, avoiding errors in antitrust enforcement is impossible. The question is which mistakes do we want to avoid? Or should we be indifferent to the types of errors we make? 

The answer is clear: As Judge Easterbrook said, we should err on the side of caution. There are several reasons why this is the best approach:

  • Violating the antitrust laws can lead to more than just civil liability: It also carries criminal penalties. As Benjamin Franklin said, “it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape, than that one innocent Person should suffer.” But if antitrust laws are enforced in the manner suggested by the majority staff, there will be one innocent executive thrown in prison for every one executive that escapes antitrust liability. This goes against well-settled due process principles. 
  • Successful plaintiffs in antitrust suits are entitled to treble (triple) damages. They also get attorneys’ fees and costs. From an economic perspective, this means that—ignoring possible criminal liability—companies will not engage in anti-competitive behavior if the risk of getting caught is higher than about 30%. This is enough to deter companies from engaging in most anti-competitive behavior.
  • Because treble damages—combined with the current level of enforcement—can deter anti-competitive behavior, increasing enforcement will lead to companies shying away from pro-competitive behavior. Even if a company knows that its actions fully comply with antitrust laws, it may decide against engaging in those actions because of the risk of erroneous enforcement activity. In other words, the benefits that the company sees from the pro-competitive behavior may be outweighed by the risk of the company being improperly found to have violated antitrust laws. This risk is especially troubling because firms do not internalize consumer benefits to their pro-competitive conduct. So although the total welfare increase may dwarf the costs of an erroneous antitrust enforcement action, companies care about only that portion the companies realize. This further distorts the market and keeps innovation at bay in the name of political expediency.     
  • The damage from cautious antitrust enforcement is relatively low. The market destroys a monopoly. When other firms see monopoly profits, they enter the market. Eventually, this eliminates monopoly rents. Antitrust enforcement merely speeds up the process of a return to competitive markets. 
  • These reasons do not include the focus of Judge Easterbrook’s article. He explained that the nation’s best economists can disagree about the effect of some competitive activities. The disagreement could stem from different assumptions or different methodologies. Without a crystal ball and perfect knowledge about all firms, it is impossible for Nobel-prize-winning economists to agree on whether actions help or hurt competition. 

If the best economists in the world cannot agree, what chance is there for generalist federal judges and lay jurors? The answer is obvious—none. In many cases, a judge or jury might as well flip a coin to decide whether to hold a company liable. They lack the education and training to understand the theoretical underpinnings of a case. They similarly lack the mathematical background to process the complex econometric analysis that is the staple of today’s antitrust litigation.

The House Judiciary Committee Antitrust Subcommittee’s majority staff report is an anti-capitalist manifesto. The attack on Judge Easterbrook is meant to undermine the Chicago School of Economics. Those pushing for more antitrust enforcement want legal victories that they can use to then push for more anti-capitalist reforms. 

It seeks to destroy entrepreneurial businesses that contribute to Americans’ well-being. The report would prefer companies like Google and Amazon—which have become indispensable during the COVID-19 pandemic—disappear. The subcommittee staff opposes these successful businesses because they recognize the companies are free-market success stories that benefit society.  

The report tries to disguise the attack by dressing it up as antitrust law. Yet it lacks any basis in law or economic reality. It therefore should be seen for what it is—a full-frontal attack on our market-based economy. Courts and governmental regulators must reject it as pure propaganda.

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Polling error redux – Polls—and our forecast model—overestimated support for Joe Biden | United States

ON THE MORNING of election day, The Economist’s election-forecasting model gave Joe Biden a 19-in-20 chance of winning the presidency. Once all the votes are tallied, Mr Biden will probably be sitting behind the Resolute Desk next year. But it will be by a much closer margin than we forecast.

As we went to press, Mr Biden had amassed 253 electoral votes. He looks to be holding leads in enough states to bring his margin up to 270—the bare threshold needed to win. He could well pick up another 20 votes in Pennsylvania as mail-in ballots are tallied. That is still quite shy of the 356 we predicted.

Simply put, this is because the president did much better than the dismal showing the opinion polls expected. Mr Biden may win Wisconsin by less than one percentage point, whereas polls suggested he was ahead by eight. The model incorporated similarly large misses in Ohio, Iowa and Florida.

Depending on how the remaining states finish, Mr Biden is expected to win one of 270, 290 or 306 electoral votes. A showing at 270 would be outside our 95% confidence interval for the range of outcomes, meaning that our level of certainty was too high. The other likely outcomes would be at the bottom end—what could be expected in one out of every three or four of simulations we ran.

The Economist’s model had found that Mr Biden was comfortably ahead in so many places that it was hard to envisage him losing them all. But he may have come close. Our errors may reflect a general weakness of quantitative models: they try to predict the future by extrapolating from the past. Perhaps this election, held in the midst of a pandemic and a volatile economy, stretched this assumption too far.

Usually polling errors do not follow the last election’s pattern because pollsters try hard to correct their mistakes. Yet the polls still overestimated the positions of Mr Biden and Hillary Clinton in mostly the same states—and often by similar magnitudes.

One worrying possibility is that surveys again did not accurately gauge the share of working-class whites who supported Mr Trump. Before the election, polling showed that they had shifted towards Mr Biden. But preliminary election returns indicate that counties with lots of white working-class voters actually swung further towards Mr Trump. This suggests that Trump-supporting working-class whites were less likely to respond to pollsters in the first place. Should that theory prove true, it would present a very serious problem for the polling industry to solve.

This article appeared in the United States section of the print edition under the headline “Whiffing twice”

Reuse this contentThe Trust Project

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Trump-Biden polls: Who will win the 2020 election if 2016 polling error happens again?

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AFL Grand Final 2020: Norm Smith Medal voting, Leigh Matthews error, Nathan Broad, Jayden Short, Dustin Martin, Geelong vs Richmond stats

AFL legend Leigh Matthews has admitted he bungled part of his voting submission as Norm Smith Medal panel Chairperson.

Richmond superstar Dustin Martin took home his third Norm Smith Medal as the best player on the ground in Saturday night’s grand final win over Geelong, but there was confusion as Matthews gave defender Nathan Broad two votes under the 3,2,1 voting system – the only votes he received from the five-strong panel to do so.

Speaking on Channel 9’s Sunday Footy Show, Matthews was asked why he gave Broad two votes and Jayden Short (the clear runner up to Martin) none, with the premiership player and coach visibly taken aback.

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Bledisloe Cup 2020: Wallabies vs All Blacks, Australia vs New Zealand, news, referee error sparks controversy, video

The Wallabies were dudded by a missed call in the lead-up to the first try of the Bledisloe Cup – but there can be no complaints of biased refereeing, since it was Aussie linesman Angus Gardner who missed the shout!

The All Blacks soaked up plenty of pressure in the opening minutes before hitting back through fullback-turned-winger Jordie Barrett, who found space down the right wing to score in the corner.

But it should have been disallowed, since Kiwi Rieko Ioane had gone into touch in the lead-up to the try.

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Racing news, punting, betting, wins, horses, Sportsbet, error

A little exuberance can go a long way and while sometimes it taketh away, there’s other times it actually giveth, and giveth in a very big way.

As one lucky punter can attest to after landing the big daddy of quinellas, courtesy of an afternoon enjoyed with mates which resulted in an inadvertent “0” being added to their bet slip, reports.

Story goes he was looking to outlay $60 per combination on a five-horse box quinella in the sixth event at Newcastle last Saturday but was, let’s say enjoying himself a bit too much as the afternoon wore on.

It was the sixth race at Newcastle he was focusing on, or not really focusing on, and the horses he selected were certainly roughies with Amorita ($35), Keiai Tsubaki ($19), Dodecanese ($6.50), Mosht Up ($41) and Opinions at $151 the rank outsider in the field, so his box quinella numbers were 8, 10, 11, 13, 14.

This punter’s mistake paid off big time.Source: Supplied

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Covid: 16,000 coronavirus cases missed in daily figures after IT error

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A technical glitch that meant nearly 16,000 cases of coronavirus went unreported has delayed efforts to trace contacts of people who tested positive.

Public Health England said 15,841 cases between 25 September and 2 October were left out of the UK daily case figures.

They were then added in to reach Saturday’s figure of 12,872 new cases and Sunday’s 22,961 figure.

PHE said all those who tested positive had been informed. But it means others in close contact with them were not.

The issue has been resolved, PHE said, with outstanding cases passed on to tracers by 01:00 BST on Saturday.

The technical issue also means that the daily case totals reported on the government’s coronavirus dashboard over the past week have been lower than the true number.

BBC health editor Hugh Pym said daily figures for the end of the week were “actually nearer 11,000”, rather than the about 7,000 reported.

Labour has described the glitch as “shambolic”.

The BBC has been told by senior public health officials in the north-west of England that a significant proportion of the unreported cases are from the area.

Cities such as Liverpool and Manchester already have among the highest infection rates in the country, at about 10 times the national average.

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Media captionBoris Johnson: “I can’t give you those figures but all those people are being contacted”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the cases data had been “truncated” and “lost”, but added all people who had tested positive had been contacted and the tracers were “now working through all the contacts”.

Meanwhile, the head of the government’s vaccine taskforce, Kate Bingham, has told the Financial Times that less than half of the UK population could be vaccinated against coronavirus.

“There is going to be no vaccination of people under 18,” she said. “It’s an adult-only vaccine for people over 50, focusing on health workers, care home workers and the vulnerable.”

Mr Johnson has warned it could be “bumpy through to Christmas” and beyond as the UK deals with coronavirus.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday, the PM said there was “hope” of beating Covid, and called on the public to “act fearlessly but with common sense”.

In an interview with the Sun, Rishi Sunak has defended his Eat Out to Help Out scheme, saying he had “no regrets”, after suggestions it may have helped fuel the second wave of coronavirus cases.

At a time when the testing system has come under intense scrutiny after reports of delays and a system struggling to keep up with demand, the latest revelation could not have come at a more awkward moment for the government at Westminster.

Because the nearly 16,000 extra positive test results had been not entered into the test and trace system, their recent contacts were not immediately followed up.

Experts advise that ideally contacts should be tracked down within 48 hours.

Officials say the technical problem – thought to be IT related – has been resolved, with all the new cases added into totals reported over the weekend.

But all this will hardly improve public confidence in the testing system in England.

And it muddies the waters for policy makers and officials trying to track the spread of the virus at what the prime minister has called a “critical moment”.

On Sunday, the government’s coronavirus dashboard said that, as of 09:00 BST, there had been a further 22,961 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, bringing the total number of cases in the UK to 502,978.

Another 33 people were reported to have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Sunday.

Public Health England’s interim chief executive Michael Brodie said a “technical issue” was identified overnight on Friday, 2 October in the process that transfers Covid-19 positive lab results into reporting dashboards. He said the majority of the unreported cases had occurred in the “most recent days”.

It was caused by some data files reporting positive test results exceeding the maximum file size.

Mr Brodie said they worked with NHS Test and Trace to “quickly resolve the issue and transferred all outstanding cases immediately into the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing system”.

“We fully understand the concern this may cause and further robust measures have been put in place as a result,” he said.

Test and Trace and Public Health England joint medical adviser Susan Hopkins said a thorough risk assessment had been undertaken “to ensure outstanding cases were prioritised for contact tracing effectively”.

PHE said NHS Test and Trace have made sure there are enough contact tracers working, and are working with local teams to ensure they also have sufficient resources to be urgently able to contact all cases.

The number of call attempts is being increased from 10 to 15 over 96 hours.

There have been clear problems with the government’s Test and Trace data, but they do not change our view of the UK’s trajectory.

Cases surged at the beginning of September, they may still be climbing, but not as quickly as anticipated just a few weeks ago.

This perspective comes from three key sets of data – the Office for National Statistics, the React study by Imperial College London and the Covid symptom tracker app.

None are blighted by either the current issues with the Test and Trace data or by people struggling to access a test.

The real fallout of the weekend’s statistical chaos is not the numbers, but the people who should have been contact-traced, told to quarantine and instead may have been unwittingly passing on the virus.

Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “This is shambolic and people across the country will be understandably alarmed.”

He called for Health Secretary Matt Hancock to explain “what on earth has happened” and what he plans to do to fix test and trace.

Mr Hancock is due to update MPs about coronavirus on Monday afternoon.

Bridget Phillipson, shadow chief secretary to the treasury, told BBC Breakfast she wanted to know whether it had had “any impact on government decision making around local restrictions”.

PHE data shows Manchester now has he highest rate of infection in England, up 495.6 cases per 100,000 people in the week to 1 October, from 223.2 the week before. Liverpool has the second highest rate, up to 456.4 from 287.1 per 100,000. Knowsley in Merseyside, Newcastle, Nottingham, Leeds and Sheffield have also seen sharp rises.

News of the glitch in the daily count first emerged late on Saturday, when the UK announced more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases for the first time since mass testing began.

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Getty Images

Under-reported figures

From 25 Sept to 2 Oct

  • 50,786 Cases initially reported by PHE

  • 15,841 Unreported cases, missed due to IT error

  • 8 days of incomplete data

  • 1,980cases per day, on average, were missed in that time

  • 48 hoursIdeal time limit for tracing contacts after positive test

Source: PHE and

The government said the technical issue meant some cases during the week were not recorded at the time, so were included in Saturday’s data.

The daily total rose from 4,044 on Monday to a then-high of 7,143 on Tuesday. However, over the next four days the daily total remained stable at a time when continued increases might have been expected.

Then came the big leap in numbers – a far bigger day-on-day increase than at any time in the entire pandemic – which was announced on Saturday, five hours later than usual, and was accompanied by the government explanation.

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