United Kingdom care home deaths from coronavirus soar

Henrietta Strickland
May 6, 2020

Italy's coronavirus death toll is much higher than reported, the nation's statistics bureau has said, pointing to thousands of fatalities that have not been officially attributed to COVID-19.

Including deaths for Scotland and Northern Ireland, the toll on this measure now amounts to 32,313.

That is still higher than Italy, which on Tuesday said it has recorded 29,316 virus fatalities to date, but far short of the U.S. where almost 69,000 have died in the pandemic.

However, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab urged against trying to make reliable global comparisons.

With governments and health authorities across Europe taking different approaches to recording deaths - and the potential of some Covid-19 deaths not being recorded at all - it is impossible to know exact comparable death tolls at this stage.

"In this country, we have - in my opinion, and let me be clear I would say this, wouldn't I - but I think we have the best reporting, the most transparent reporting, and the most timely reporting, because we include death registrations - we've been pushing our death registration reporting as fast as we possibly can".

By contrast the ONS figures include all deaths where Covid-19 is mentioned on death certificates.

Angela McLean, the government's deputy chief scientific adviser, said Tuesday that worldwide comparisons were important but hard to make.

Medical staff is seen in an ambulance as they transfer a patient from a nursing home to a hospital, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) continues, in Rome, Italy.

Ministers and experts have warned against worldwide comparisons, saying the figure for excess mortality - the number of deaths from all causes that exceed the average for the time of year - is a more meaningful gauge. The equivalent number for hospital deaths over this period is 19,643.

The government's own figures rose sharply last week when it made a decision to include not only deaths at hospitals but also those in nursing homes and the wider community.

Stripe said the ONS had recorded a total of around 42,000 "excess deaths" - how many more people have died in total than would normally be expected - in the past five weeks. Some 194,990 people have tested positive for coronavirus, an increase of 4,406 from 24 hours earlier.

Of the 25,354 additional deaths, only 13,710 were registered by the Civil Protection Department as caused by coronavirus, leaving around 11,600 fatalities out of the official tally. She shares her debilitating COVID-19 symptoms and the impact of her illness on her family and her workplace.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently said the United Kingdom was past the worst of the outbreak.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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