UK loses 16,000 COVID-19 cases due to Excel spreadsheet “error”

The number of recent cases of Coronavirus in the UK has been massively under-reported due to a basic IT error.

Public Health England (PHE) has said that around 16,000 cases were omitted from the daily case figures reported to government. The ommission is down to a basic error in the use of Excel, with the spreadsheet used to record lab results reaching its maximum size and then failing to update further.

The error has now been corrected by splitting the Excel file into batches. However, this has led to tech experts wondering why such important data is being managed via a simple speadsheet.

Excel is ideal for lists, such as a company list of clients’ addresses and phone numbers, but huge undertakings. such as a national track anmd trace system, would be better suited to a database. bi

While we would not want to comment on the various political intrigies surrounding track and trace, there’s a basic lesson here – use the best tools for the job.

Technology offers many solutions and perhaps Public Health England needs to review its data storage systems?