Peston accused of ‘fake news’ for scaremongering – claimed official infection data too low

UK coronavirus cases increase by a further 39,906

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Mr Peston, in a series of tweets today, called out Boris Johnson’s daily coronavirus statistics, saying that they “seriously understate” that amount of infections. The ITV political correspondent claimed that an insider contacted him to reveal that the Government’s coronavirus statistics “seriously understates the actual number of infections”. Mr Peston tweeted: “In case you didn’t know, and I didn’t until a senior government official told me, the daily tally of infections seriously understates the actual number of infections.

“This is because if you are sick with Covid19 today but had it any time in the past, even last spring, your new bout is not included in the daily dashboard figures.”

However, Covid Fact Check UK hit out at Mr Peston’s claims and replied with a tweet that read: “Do you have any data to support your assertion this ‘seriously understates’ the actual number of infections?

“Is it really ‘profoundly troubling’?

“The vast majority of positive cases in spring 2020 won’t exist in the system anyway due to lack of testing capacity.”

In his series of tweets, Mr Peston kept detailing his claims against the Government’s tally.

He added: “We know people are being reinfected.

“And if the pandemic were to be spreading, which it might be, from first infected school children to second infected adults, we would not see that change in real-time.

“This is profoundly troubling.

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“And although it probably remains true, as I said on Friday, that we are past the peak of the pre 19 July surge, the inadequacy of the daily measurement data undermines confidence.

“As I understand it, there is deep disquiet among officials that the dashboard stats are compiled in this way, but no one at the top of Public Health England or the Department of Health and Social Care will authorise the change.”

The ITV news presenter added: “In other respects, autumn booster jabs and so on, Government policy is conditioned by the serious risk of reinfection.

“So just so bonkers to exclude re-infections from the daily published infection figures.”

Government statistics confirm that yesterday the total number of deaths from the virus in the UK was 86.

The number of people to test positive for the pathogen in the UK in the last 24 hours was 31,795.

Hospitals admissions for the disease increased in the last 7 days by 26.7 percent on the previous week, with hospitalisations at 5,490.

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