How we put together our daily Covid-19 updates

By Jamie Hill - 1 October 2020

Opinion and Features

Since the start of lockdown, Swindon Link has been putting together a daily report of the national and local coronavirus figures. Swindon Link Editor Jamie Hill explains how we put together the figures and where we get them.

From the start of this national crisis Swindon Link made the decision to report the daily coronavirus figures released by The Government in a consistent and un-sensationalised manner.

More than six months on, unfortunately we are still reporting the figures on a daily basis using the same daily format. One thing that became clear in the early days of the pandemic is how important the data is for our readers to be able to be aware of what is happening with the disease as it ebbed and flowed.

We also realised early on that there are also several ways and several different data sets that could be used but that our readers would need consistency to be able to get that daily snapshot on a local and national level.

The figures are released after 4pm by The Government on a daily basis but there have been several occasions where they come in late or on two days in August, not at all.

Every day we report the Covid-19 Daily Deaths released from NHS England. These figures are released in a spreadsheet form and tell us the daily deaths at each hospital trust. This is how we are able to report the number of coronavirus deaths at Great Western Hospital. The link we follow is  https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-daily-deaths/

We also report several other consistent bits of information all from Public Health England's coronavirus dashboard which is updated at around 4pm each day. The link for this is https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/

The data we gather from this site includes the local authority coronavirus case totals for Swindon and Wiltshire. From this we are able to work out the weekly case totals for both Swindon and Wiltshire which is another bit of information we report daily. This gives our readers a detailed picture of how prevalent the virus is in the community.

The website also gives us the national picture enabling us to report the UK-wide daily ccronavirus case and number of deaths figures.

At times we have received complaints that we do not report enough detail on some of the figures including local recovery rates and hospitalisations. Unfortunately these figures are not available on a daily basis and are not released by the hospital trust.

There will be a day in the next few months when there will be no new deaths and no cases to report. That is a day that we are all looking forward to.

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