Blame the spreadsheet

So, Excel was to blame! The nigh-on 16,000 UK Covid-19 cases missed off the daily national figures in recent days was apparently all down to a ‘technical error’ from the use of an out-of-date excel spreadsheet.

Public Health England’s interim CEO, Michael Brodie, said the technical error was discovered on Friday night (2 October), when it became clear that the CSV files from the labs were not being properly transferred to its Excel files. Unfortunately, these figures exceeded the maximum file size, which meant figures just dropped off the bottom, and all without anyone noticing for days.

The real problem was the fact that the PHE was using old Excel file format XLS, which can only handle 65,000 data rows instead of the one-million plus rows Excel should be capable of.

Files have now been split into smaller multiple files to prevent any reoccurrence.

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