Evidence for and against false positive COVID ‘cases’ in July and August

For False positives:

I am working full time on gathering evidence that we have had a significant false positive issue. Listed is the current evidence. This is a live post that I will add to as I get more information in:

  1. Characteristics of patients diagnosed with COVID
    • March April 60% were over 60yrs old. July August only 11% were over 60yrs.
    • March April 2% were under 20yrs old. Jul August it was 19%.
    • March April 60% men. July August 50%.
    • Ethnicity data TBC
  2. Characteristics of disease behaviour of hospital admissions
    • March April death rate was 6%. July August death rate 1.5% = background rate for all hospital admissions.
    • Length of stay TBC
    • % admitted to ITU TBC
    • % with oxygen saturations below 95% at any point TBC
    • % with ground glass changes on chest CT TBC
  3. Random sampling of general population
    • 95% of households in ONS survey had only one case since June
  4. Antibody levels in the population
    • Since June, percentage of population with antibodies to COVID has fallen away. The last rise seen was seen in the Midlands at the beginning of June.

5. Lack of antibody production in cohorts diagnosed with PCR testing

6. Increasing proportion of ONS predicted total cases are being detected by testing. It looks like we’ll be detecting more cases than are predicted in a month’s time.

7. Deciding what caused and contributed to death involves piecing together evidence and drawing reasonable conclusions. Despite ‘evidence’ of COVID it was left off one third of summer death certificates in alleged COVID deaths. https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/death-certificate-data-covid-19-as-the-underlying-cause-of-death/

8. Data on patients in ITU and deaths per hospital trust showed a tight correlation in spring that was lost since.

9. Ratio of hospital admissions to cases from two weeks earlier would imply CFR of 0.15% unless diluted by false positive results

Against false positives

ICNARC has carried out an audit of the characteristics of patients on ITU with a COVID diagnosis. They characteristics are similar for patients admitted in Sept and those admitted up to 31st August. To draw definite conclusions we need to compare March, April and May admissions with July onwards.


Published by clarecraigfrcpath

I have been a pathologist since 2001 and a Consultant Pathologist since 2009. I worked for Imperial College Healthcare Trust as a cytopathologist until 2015. Subsequently I was the day to day Pathologist on the cancer arm of the 100,000 Genome Project and more recently I have worked for Panakeia, an AI digital pathology startup as Head of Pathology. I am currently between jobs and doing occasional consultancy work and crunching COVID data.

4 thoughts on “Evidence for and against false positive COVID ‘cases’ in July and August

  1. Excellent work. I check regularly for updates and have been trying to get my MP to find what the Gov are doing to monitor FP rates in the various testing regimes – specifically what External Quality Assessments are being undertaken. Do you have any information on these EQAs?

    (FYI I’m a Data Scientist whose worked in Risk pricing for the last decade, so I’m well aware of the stats involved with all of this).

    I’m sure you’ve seen it already, but this paper reviewed EQA results for previous epidemics & I can’t believe our chaotic, rapidly expanded system is well into the best performing quartile of testing regimes.

    Click to access 2020.04.26.20080911v4.full.pdf

    A quick question about your LockdownSceptics piece on the apparent decoupling of deaths & ITU admissions in which you suggest it would be unlikely that the virus has become more deadly over the summer – I don’t disagree, but wondered if viral load may have had any effect here? Probably too early in the Autumn for this to take effect (larger loads from damp, unventilated environments), but it could be a factor.


  2. Thanks for your comment Adrian.

    I don’t know what EQA is happening currently but what was happening was focused much more on ensuring sensitivity of testing than specificity.

    There are a number of plausible explanations for why the percentage of deaths could be increasing but none of them make sense in the presence of a reducing percentage of hospitalised patients and those on ITU.


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