Archive for ONS

Scrapping Covid surveillance study would put public health at risk [by Silvia Richardson]

Posted in Books, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2022 by xi'an

Royal Statistical Society president (and very dear friend) Sylvia Richardson published this tribune in the Guardian defending the preservation of a national surveillance system last week:

Sajid Javid is right to argue against scrapping the Office for National Statistics’ Covid surveillance study. Throughout the pandemic, national surveillance studies have provided invaluable information to support decision-making.

For any real-time health surveillance system to be reliable and cost-effective, it cannot rely solely on self-reported tests. These data sets are likely to be biased, as it is impossible to know how many people are also reporting their negative results and, if tests start to come with a cost, how many people simply aren’t testing. If we are to get reliable information about the prevalence of Covid, it is essential to maintain studies such as the ONS’s and React to allow statisticians to estimate infectiousness and the proportion of the population who are infected (including those without symptoms), as well as to identify new variants.

Abrupt disruption of a surveillance system is wasteful, will make tracking of prevalence meaningless and will put in jeopardy the future health of the public. If important surveillance studies must be scaled down, this cannot be led by arbitrary cost-cutting targets, but should be led by statisticians to ensure that studies continue to provide reliable information.

Quételet’s average (wo)man

Posted in Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , on October 15, 2010 by xi'an

In the EuroStar last morning, I got attracted by my neighbour headline’s about average and went to pick a spare copy at the head of the train:

The article is awfully written, mixing nonsensical figures (like “the average British woman, who is 40, enjoys an extra half-day work each week”!!!) with a few remarks about the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This is supposed to celebrate the first World Statistics Day but there is very little to celebrate if this is the vision of statistics this day promotes. Are we back to Quételet‘s quest for the “average man”?!

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