Cabinet ministers reject pleas from Tory MPs to stop publishing daily Covid infection statistics as they claim it would make them ‘look dodgy’ after critics say the numbers ‘drive fear’
- Tory MPs called on Government to stop publishing daily Covid-19 case numbers
- Some backbenchers believe the numbers ‘drive fear’ and create a ‘fear factor’
- But Cabinet ministers believe that scrapping the daily data would ‘look dodgy’
Cabinet ministers have shot down pleas from Tory MPs to stop publishing daily coronavirus case numbers because they believe it would ‘look dodgy’.
Ministers have rejected the demand on the grounds it could make it appear as if they have ‘something to hide’.
Tory MPs and some scientific experts have called on the Government to stop publishing the daily statistics, arguing that they create a ‘fear factor.
The publication of daily pandemic data has been a fixture of the last 16 months as the nation has battled through the coronavirus crisis.
Cabinet ministers have shot down pleas from Tory MPs to stop publishing daily coronavirus case numbers because they believe it would ‘look dodgy’
Some Conservative MPs believe the time has now come to stop releasing the numbers because the vaccine rollout means daily case numbers is no longer as important as it was as a metric for measuring the severity of the pandemic.
But a Cabinet minister told The Times it would ‘look dodgy’ if the Government stopped publishing the figures.
They added: ‘Once society has learnt to live with Covid, people won’t be interested in the figures.’
Miriam Cates, a Tory MP, told the BBC’s Politics Live programme yesterday that the numbers ‘just drive fear’.
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said earlier this week: ‘Stop it now. We are publishing daily figures on Covid, but why aren’t we doing the same for pneumonia, or – when the time comes – flu?
‘The problem is it feeds the whole fear factor and makes decision making by the public irrational.
‘We need to understand the balance of risks but publishing these figures every day makes it seem like nothing else matters. They should stop it and do it now.’
Independent experts have also said daily death statistics have become ‘useless’ and serve only to ‘frighten’ people.
Scientists have suggested ministers should stop publishing the number of deaths within 28 days of a positive test unless they provide corresponding figures for other diseases.
The Department of Health provides a daily update of infections, deaths, and hospitalisations.
But given the success of the vaccine programme in breaking the link between cases and deaths, many think it is now time to stop as the statistics could be taking a mental toll on the public.
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