By Dr Billy “The Dog” McGraw of the Deparment of Statistical Anomolies at the University College Hospital of the North Circular Road.
The Liverpool manager, Mr Klopp, has revealed that Trent Alexander-Arnold was the only Liverpool player to actually test positive for Covid.
And yet the game last Thursday was called off – according to the media on the grounds that the club had under 14 first team players who were fit to play.
The Mirror seeks to explain this away on the grounds that the other players had false positive results to their covid tests. So what does this mean and what were Liverpool playing at?
A false positive in this case arises when someone who does not have coronavirus, tests positive for it. All medical tests produce false positives simply because the measurements are quite difficult to make and no test is 100% accurate. Of course if you are measuring the number of legs people have, looking for people with three legs you tend to get few false positives, but seeking a virus is more difficult.
So a false positive rate refers to the people who are not infected but get positive results. Dr Paul Birrell, a statistician at the Medical Research Council’s Biostatistics Unit at the University of Cambridge, said on the BBC, “The false positive rate is not well understood and could potentially vary according to where and why the test is being taken. A figure of 0.5% for the false positive rate is often assumed.”
Now let’s see what the Liverpool figure means
If you tested 1,000 people at random for Covid-19 in early September, for example, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) infection study suggests you should have expected one of them actually to have the virus.
With a false positive rate of 0.8% – you would get one false positive among each 100 positive results. These are people who tested positive but didn’t have the disease. So you would need to test around 100 people who are shown to have the disease to get one person with a false positive – one person who the test said had the disease but didn’t.
Yet Liverpool tested 24 players and 12 of them would have needed to have positive results to have been classified as having covid and thus have the match called off. But now we are told a lot of them were false positives. But to get 10 false positives – enough to have the game called off – you will need to test 1250 people.
But this is the sort of number Liverpool must have got for the game to be called off, but for the players then to be immediately ready to play this week.
DOES LIVERPOOL HAVE 1250 PLAYERS IN ITS FIRST TEAM SQUAD?
If so, this is a major new development both in football and of the testing programme. In fact it means the entire testing programme in the UK is useless.
In reality the testing programme might be very inaccurate, but it is not utterly impossible.
But here is the amazing thing. The Liverpool manager came out and said “We got a lot of false positives” and none of the journalists questioned it or asked how many. A revelation to modern medicine and everyone let it go by without a question!
It really is amazing. So why are the media not crawling all over this? Why are they not talking about the Liverpool Variant?
Or is the Liverpool Variant a Variant on reality?
Incidentally, if you are interested in the rate of infection one of the big issues is the actual accuracy of do it yourself tests, both in showing people who have the virus, and avoiding showing people who don’t have the virus, as having it, and people who do have the virus not having it. The problem is testing is inaccurate but is treated as gospel. (And just in case you think this is an anti-vax article – not that there is any reason to think that – it isn’t. Everyone working on Untold has had three jabs – mostly because we are all old.)
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