Thurrock councillor challenges Covid stats: "What this could mean is someone was killed in say, a car crash or passed away with cancer or starved to death while waiting on the phone trying to get an appointment with a GP gone missing in action"

  Posted: 21.11.20 at 12:40 by The Editor

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A THURROCK councillor is calling for a shake-up in the way Covid-19 figures are counted.

In a round-robin email to all councillors and the authority's directors, Homestead Tory councillor Gary Collins says the impact of coronavirus in Thurrock has been taken out of proportion. Cllr Collins is listed on the council's website as the portfolio holder for central services, though Cllr Deb Huelin has attended recent meeting taking responsibility for Central Services and Communities, so it's not quite clear what stature to attribute to Cllr Collins message.

However, he has called on the council's director of public health, Ian Wake - who is about to be promoted to Corporate Director for Adults, Housing and Health - to come up with a way of reporting the figures so they show the 'true' reflection of Covid in the borough.

In his message to members and officers Cllr Collins also questions the validity of the number of deaths reported in the borough as Covid-related.

He says: "We come to the sad tally of deaths in Thurrock attributed to Covid-19. Sadly (quite rightly) there have been 190 deaths where Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate.

"OK. What this could mean is that someone was killed accidentally in say, a car crash or passed away with some comorbidity like terminal cancer or starved to death while waiting on the phone trying to get an appointment with their GP who had gone missing in action since the outbreak of Covid-19 in March.

"Yet because they tested positive for Covid-19 their deaths are reported as 'Covid-related'. As far as the term 'Covid-related' is concerned is is now a meaningless and discredited term.

"A more accurate measure of the effects of covid are the deaths by 'Covid only' number.

"It is my understanding that we have had maybe one death since July in Thurrock directly attributable to Covid 19."

Cllr Collins would like Mr Wake to amend the figures presented in the government's chosen style to a more one that is more 'in perspective' for members to consider.

He adds: "I realise that the government has its own reasons wanting the council to report the Covid figures in this way. Unfortunately for me it lacks clarity, detail and context.

"Whilst I wouldn't want anyone to get into trouble by changing the format used, could we, in addition, have the details I requested separately so we can get these government statistics into perspective please."

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