How a Software Error Made Spain’s Child COVID-19 Mortality Rate Skyrocket

Elena Debre:

Government reliance on the manual entrance of COVID-19 data into basic software has caused data errors and civilian confusion across the globe. The U.K. used a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to track COVID cases—until the high caseload became too large for the software to handle. The maxed-out file stopped loading cases into the government’s system and left more than 15,000 cases behind in the national count. As a result, exposed people were not contact-traced and quarantined, causing an additional 125,000 infections and an estimated 1,500 deaths. One employee’s misstep in Ohioprevented 4,000 COVID deaths from being reported in the state’s system. The newest entry to the COVID count glitch list comes from Spain.

On March 10, a respected peer-reviewed medical journal, the Lancet, published Spain’s child COVID mortality rate as around two to four times that of the U.S., U.K., Italy, Germany, France, and South Korea. The paper said that 54 children (defined as below 19) had died of COVID in the small country, making Spain’s reported death rates a staggering 4.9 percent for kids aged 10-19—which is at least 2.92 percentage points higher than other country in the report.