The UK government reportedly lost some 16,000 covid cases beause the Excel spreadsheet it's been using for track 'n' trace ran out of space.
Public Health England said 15,841 cases between 25 September and 2 October were left out of the UK daily case figures. They were then added in to reach Saturday's figure of 12,872 new cases and Sunday's 22,961 figure. PHE said all those who tested positive had been informed. But it means others in close contact with them were not. … The technical issue also means that the daily case totals reported on the government's coronavirus dashboard over the past week have been lower than the true number.
Right-wing media in the UK are blaming Excel, but everyone who uses Excel knows this is human error: they put each case in a new column instead of a new row.
"When I first heard that cases were missing I thought "can't be an Excel problem, the rows run out at 1,048,576 which is bigger than even total cases". I never thought they'd have a case per COLUMN. Unbelievable. And yes: Excel columns end at 16,384 aka "XFD"."
Excel as a database? Fine, whatever, it's nice and easy to use, gets the job done. Excel as the database to track a life-and-death pandemic, adding a column for each new case? A magnificent example of British mediocrity and ineptitude for the ages.
Here's a video quote of Prime Minister Boris Johnson describing this state of affairs: