The government wants us to test ourselves for Covid-19 twice a week, using lateral flow kits which will be freely distributed. What is the risk of being ordered to self-isolate as a result of a false negative?
— While the NHS claims that these tests produce false positives in 0.1% or fewer cases, an evaluation by Porton Down and Oxford University last year found a false positive rate of 0.3% in a hospital setting, rising to 0.39% in the community — in other words, about one in every 256 tests.
— According to the Office for National Statistics infection survey, in the week to 27 March one in every 370 people were infected (not necessarily showing symptoms) — 0.27% of the population.
— So for every 2 people who really do currently have the virus, you would expect 3 false positives.
Balance of power
The government set a target for 600,000 domestic heat pumps a year to be installed between now and 2028. Is England’s housing stock becoming any more energy efficient? Percentage of homes in each energy rating (with A being most efficient):
Q4 2010 | Q4 2020
A | 0.1 | 0.3
B | 13 | 15.4
C | 30.5 | 32.9
D | 32.6 | 36.6
E | 16.7 | 12
F | 5.3 | 2.1
G | 1.7 | 0.7
Source: Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
An 85-year-old woman in Birmingham was killed by an escaped dog. Are deaths from dog bites increasing? Average number of annual deaths per decade:
1980s | 1.1
1990s | 1.6
2000s | 3.1
2010s | 3.5
The worst year was 2009, with 6 deaths. The last time 0 deaths were recorded was 1995.
Raising the bar
Pubs were allowed to reopen their gardens. Which features are considered essential among pubgoers? Prior to the pandemic:
Serves meals | 67%
Beer garden | 63%
Fireplace | 52%
Customers known by name | 51%
Serves snacks | 50%
Serves real ale | 37%
Live music | 35%
Background music | 35%
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