A former Treasury statistician has said that “sleight of hand” may have been used in internal government documents as part of efforts to strengthen Covid-19 restrictions.
An internal document claimed that the lag between catching the new Omicron virus and it potentially leading to hospitalisation was 17 days, reported the Sunday Telegraph this morning.
Such an extended lag would, in theory, mean further restrictions should come into place earlier whilst hospital data reveals the real-world impact of the new variant.
However other data, including that from the Office of National Statistics, suggests the lag is around ten days.
Simon Briscoe, a former Treasury statistician, told the Sunday Telegraph that the 17-day figure was either “deliberate statistical sleight of hand designed to deceive, or incompetence”.
There is growing optimism that England may avoid further curbs in the coming days after a host of data suggesting the new variant is a milder strain than previous iterations.