Pillar 2

25 June 2020. Stan ‘Stats’ Robinson works in the bowels of a government building. He’s been number crunching for years, but this pandemic’s something else. Now he gets how data can mean the difference between life and death.

Leicester thinks it might have a new outbreak. It’s been pleading for updates for days. But he’s been under strict instructions to withhold Pillar 2 — the results of testing outsourced to firms like Deloitte. Some half-baked crap about ‘data ownership’. And that means the city’s been in the dark about 90% of its new cases.

Stan was finally allowed to send the info this morning, but he hates that he was part of this shameful delay.

Scrolling on Twitter, he sees the latest Covid figures from the Financial Times. It’s got a stats team after his own heart, using data to tell it like it is.

He leaves the office early, whistling a little tune. Then he calls the FT.