In December, I related a story on this page about a care home worker who told me of a resident who had Covid put on her death certificate after she fell, suffered a bleed from the brain, was taken to hospital and died. All the care home's efforts to get an explanation failed. In that piece I said that when the pandemic was over we needed a serious inquiry into the figures. Now Bel Mooney, the distinguished author and advice columnist, tells a similar story about her father.
The legend below the graphs of government death statistics clearly states, "deaths for any reason within 28 days of testing positive" but the BBC always, always avoids reading out "for any reason".
There is an immense difference between those who die directly of Covid and those who die with Covid or indeed who have tested positive, recover and die of something else within 28 days and I cannot be the only one who has noticed that nobody seems to die of pneumonia or winter flu at the moment.
Unlike the figures published by the Government each day, the Office of National Statistics does distinguish between Covid as an underlying cause and Covid mentioned anywhere on death certificates whether as an underlying cause or not. © GettyAmbulances
In the eight weeks from November 6 to December 25, there were 18,771 deaths from Covid as underlying cause and 21,629 where Covid was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate whether as underlying cause or not.
If, as I suspect, the raw figures which are intoned night after night are inflated through lack of these distinctions, then the Government has scored a spectacular own goal as we now have one of the highest published death rates in the world.
None of that is to deny the horrible death toll that Covid has caused but if government is so insistent on being led by data then at least the nation has a right to expect the data to be accurate.