So it has also been with test results: over the weekend, several thousand positive test results were miraculously discovered; added to those already known, the numbers assumed eye-watering proportions. But who would carry the can? Public Health England was to be broken up, it couldn’t be dumped on members of SAGE, and no-one in Government was going to step forward and own the farce. So it had to be someone else.
And the Mail’s website told us who, or what, would be carrying this particular can. “A furious blame game is under way today after 16,000 coronavirus cases were missed due to a computer glitch - meaning thousands more potentially infected contacts were not traced. The extraordinary meltdown is believed to have been caused by an Excel spreadsheet containing lab results reaching its maximum size, and failing to update”.
Ho yus. Do go on. “Some 15,841 cases between September 25 and October 2 were not uploaded to the government dashboard … Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey conceded this morning that more Britons 'may well' have been infected due to the blunder”. But it wasn’t her fault: the bodyswerve had already been made.
“The shambolic situation sparked an immediate backlash against PHE - which is already set to be abolished and replaced by the government - with claims 'everything it touches turns to sh**’ … But the body hit back by pointing the finger at the Test & Trace operation, run by Baroness Dido Harding. 'We report the data when they send it. We didn't get it,' one official told Sky News”. As the dust clears … hey, it’s Dido Harding again!
So what is the high tech solution to this problem? “The technical issue has now been resolved by splitting the Excel files into batches”. Christ on a bike, this is amateurish. You’re going to add tens of thousands of records to an Excel spreadsheet, you make sure you know (a) the maximum dimensions of an Excel spreadsheet, and (b) start a new one when you get within sight of those maximum dimensions. Also, many test results DID get through. Had the spreadsheet been full, they would not have been notified.
Another thought enters: Test and Trace has already eaten up a significantly-sized pile of money which has been ponied up mainly by We The People. So it would be nice if someone in Government would care to explain how all the millions, nay, billions got sprayed up the wall if the only software holding it all together is a copy of Excel.
Meanwhile, Labour’s Jon Ashworth has said “Matt Hancock should come to the House of Commons on Monday to explain what on earth has happened, what impact it has had on our ability to contain this virus and what he plans to do to fix test and trace”.
So that won’t be happening, either. Bad Tory workmen blame tools no shock horror.
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