Health chief accused of disseminating misleading statistics on hospitalisations that overstated the risk from omicron
One of Britain’s most senior health advisers has been accused of disseminating “dodgy data” that inflated the potential risk of omicron.
Dr Jenny Harries, the chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, is understood to have been the source of a contested claim by Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, that there is typically a 17-day lag between patients becoming infected and requiring hospitalisation.
However, independent experts pointed to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, which suggested an average delay of nine or 10 days.
The claim by Mr Javid was seen as an attempt to strengthen the case for urgent new Covid-19 restrictions, on the basis that the country could be on the brink of a major spike in hospitalisations due to omicron.
Dr Harries has claimed that omicron was “probably the most significant threat we’ve had since the start of the pandemic”.
Health and scientific advisers have been pushing for lockdown measures and Boris Johnson will have to urgently decide whether or not to impose new restrictions before the New Year…