Use of .xls file format caused Public Health England to temporarily loose track of Covid-19 results

tgb417 Dataiku DSS Core Designer, Dataiku DSS & SQL, Dataiku DSS ML Practitioner, Dataiku DSS Core Concepts, Neuron 2020, Neuron, Registered, Dataiku Frontrunner Awards 2021 Finalist, Neuron 2021, Neuron 2022, Frontrunner 2022 Finalist, Frontrunner 2022 Winner, Dataiku Frontrunner Awards 2021 Participant, Frontrunner 2022 Participant, Neuron 2023 Posts: 1,595 Neuron

Although this BBC report "Excel: Why using Microsoft's tool caused Covid-19 results to be lost" is a humbling reminder about the impact of the work we do as data analysts, data scientists.


Mistakes like this can and do happen. Lots of data cleanup work comes from these mistakes. I know that I've dealt with these kinds of issues often.

I really enjoyed Matt Parker's humorous and actually useful review of the situation in his YouTube Video The Spreadsheet New Network: UK Government loses data because of Excel mistake.

What do folks think? Is this kind of humour useful in educating our colleagues and reminding ourselves to be careful?

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