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Excel spreadsheet error failed to register nearly 16,000 coronavirus infections in developed United Kingdom

The United Kingdom, one of the worst-hit nations by coronavirus has come under criticism for failing to register nearly 16,000 infections.

An ‘excel error’ failed to register these cases in the nation’s track and trace system.

According to The Guardian, the error occurred because the platform used to track the cases was none other than handy Microsoft excel. The Excel spreadsheet apparently reached its maximum file size and failed to update.




The Guardian said the test results were sent the form of a CSV file with just a list of values separated by commas. That report was then loaded into Microsoft Excel, and the new tests at the bottom were added to the main database, and this is where Excel fell short at collating the new data.

The 15,841 “missing” cases which were made public were originally recorded between September 25th and October 2nd.

All those who tested positive for COVID-19 were notified by the UK’s health authorities, but the failure to upload these cases to the national database meant anyone who came into contact with these individuals was not informed, reports The Verge.



The error may have helped spread the virus further through the country as individuals exposed to the virus wouldn’t have known and continued spreading it.

A million-row limit on the Excel spreadsheet software, may have essentially led to Public Health England misplacing nearly 16,000 Covid test results.

“Initial findings indicate that the issue was caused by the fact that some files containing positive test results exceeded their maximum file size, and they then failed to load into the central system because they couldn’t get through,” a spokesperson told a BBC reporter. They did not mention Excel.