The UK Daily Mail has reported that an Excel glitch was to blame for thousands of coronavirus cases being missed off.
Whether or not Excel is being used specifically, a “spreadsheet blunder” has resulted in nearly 16,000 positive test results being missed off government figures since 24 September. It is thought that the spreadsheet containing the results maxed out and was unable to automatically update, but this is as of yet unconfirmed. When asked about the error, Boris Johnson said:
Well, what happened here, was that some of the data got truncated and it was lost.
He was unable to say how many people who should have been warned that they may have come in contact with the virus weren’t contacted as a result.
A Whitehall investigation has reportedly been launched to establish how exactly this error came about and additional contact tracers have been drafted to try to recover the contact information of people whose positive tests went unreported.
The error is the latest in a series of gaffes that have befallen the government’s track and trace system, once hailed as “world beating”.
Because of the error, Baroness Dido Harding has faced calls to resign from her position as head of track and trace.
People are also awaiting a statement from the Health Secretary Matt Hancock to establish what exactly actually happened with the ‘glitch’.
Although people responded to the news with an excellent array of memes, really, this is no laughing matter. Because track and trace data is supposed to help keep us safe from coronavirus and inform the government’s lockdown strategy which affects us all.