Nicola Sturgeon announced the new counting system today
NUMBERS of patients in Scottish hospitals with Covid-19 were being dramatically overplayed by around 80 per cent, it emerged today.

Nicola Sturgeon said a review of the counting system had led to the dramatic fall in the official tally.

Under the old measure - which included patients who had recovered from coronavirus, but were still in hospital for unrelated conditions - there would have been 262 people logged today.

But the First Minister said a "new and more accurate measure" showed the current figure was 48 patients.

We told earlier this month how academics at Oxford University's Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine had pointed out the flaw.

Ms Sturgeon then said she had ordered a review.

The centre's director Professor Carl Heneghan today praised the Scottish Government for overhauling counting methods.

But he also called on them to change the overall definition of a positive Covid case, amid concerns that the way people are diagnosed is also overcounting active cases in the community.

Prof Heneghan said: "It's impressive that the Scottish Government has recognised its errors and is now correcting them.

"It remains important for us to have accurate data about the impact on healthcare services.

Comment: Because hystericizing the nation and emptying hospitals over false numbers is actually killing people: UK's lockdown could cause extra 35,000 extra cancer deaths due to delayed diagnosis and treatment

"The next step is to clarify the definition of a Covid case so we can be very clear when a patient comes into hospital if they have an active infection, and actually have the disease.

"That is the most important aspect to know right now to inform the response to this outbreak."

On the counting error, Prof Heneghan said that overestimates were likely to have been a problem for several months.

At her media briefing today, Ms Sturgeon said of the counting method: "That old measure was providing accurate information at the peak the epidemic of this first phase back in the year when there were 1,500 Covid patients in hospital.

"But as the pandemic has progressed, we have been reporting a higher number of hospital cases than is probably justified, and that's the issue I alluded to a couple of weeks ago.

"For example in late August, Scotland officially accounted for almost one third of the hospital patients with Covid in the UK - despite having one twelfth of the UK's population, and a relatively low incidence of the virus at that stage.

"To try to ensure we are no longer counting patients who no longer really have Covid, we are from now, and I'll report under the new measurement today, but then regularly from tomorrow, we're moving to a new definition.

"From now on, we will only count patients who first test positive for Covid during their current stay in hospital, or in the two weeks before their admission.

Comment: This still does not mean that they are suffering because of Covid, just that it may be in their system. And even then, the tests are provably faulty so the results cannot be fully trusted.

"In addition, we will stop classifying them as Covid patients, for statistical purposes after 28 days in hospital - or 28 days after the date of their positive test, whichever is later.

"This new measure will be an improvement on the old one - but it is important for me to point out that it will not be absolutely perfect.

"The effects of Covid sometimes require hospital stays of longer than 28 days, and so a small number of patients with Covid may not be captured by the measure I've just outlined there.

"I have therefore asked Public Health Scotland to develop analysis about patients who unfortunately end up spending longer in hospital.

"But overall, this new measure will give us a better picture both of the current situation in hospitals, and crucially, given the phase of the pandemic we are going into, it will be more sensitive to the changes in hospital admissions caused by new cases.

"So it will enable us to more accurately reflect and report any increase in hospital admissions over the next period." Ms Sturgeon said that under the new definition, there were six people in intensive care today - compared to seven under the old system.

Comment: How many of those were already suffering commodities? Because what may have put them in intensive care may not be coronavirus and therefore the claimed numbers are still likely to be inaccurate.

And Prof Heneghan said of the counting error: "Early on in the pandemic, it won't have been an issue - in March, April, May, you haven't built up that store of patients. But since about June it's probably been the case."

Comment: That doesn't make any sense, and those faulty numbers were being used to scare people into accepting a lockdown, and now they're being used to impose regional lockdowns.

In a paper last week, academics at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine highlighted an issue with diagnosing patients on the sole basis of the PCR test, which Scotland's national clinical director Jason Leitch controversially described as "a bit rubbish" last week.

There are fears the so-called PCR test can flag "false positives" by detecting virus that is not alive any longer in people who have recovered or were asymptomatic.

The Oxford Uni experts said the PCR test results should be calculated in a different way, while diagnosis should also take into account symptoms and lung scans for hospital patients.