Large Excel files cripple UK COVID-19 data: 'This incident should never have happened'

Public health officials in the United Kingdom reported missing thousands of COVID-19 test results because Microsoft Excel files containing the information were too large to transfer into its central computer system, according to The New York Times.

Public Health England revealed its computer system omitted several rows from some of the Excel spreadsheets containing information about COVID-19 positive patients because the documents were too large. The problem has now been fixed and the department will split files to transfer smaller amounts of data going forward, but the glitch has caused a stir.

Almost 16,000 positive tests from Sept. 25 to Oct. 2 were not accurately recorded and the error delayed contact tracing and painted an inaccurate picture of the national infection rate.

"This incident should never have happened," Matt Hancock, the country's health secretary, told Parliament. He also said the government would investigate the situation and upgrade computer systems.

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