The UK’s coronavirus death toll is probably more than double the government’s official figure, according to a new analysis by the Financial Times.
The analysis puts the likely real death toll in the country from the pandemic above 41,000, more than double the latest official figure of 17,337.
This is a “conservative” estimate based on Office for National Statistics data about the total “excess” number of deaths in the country, the Financial Times said.
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The UK’s real coronavirus death toll is probably more than double the government’s official figure, according to a stark new analysis published Wednesday.
The latest official statistics, released Tuesday by the Department of Health, suggest that 17,337 people in UK hospitals have died after testing positive for COVID-19.
These numbers do not include people who die of COVID-19 outside hospitals, however, or those who have died indirectly because of the pandemic, perhaps fearful to seek treatment for other conditions.
The Office of National Statistics this week released figures suggesting that the overall number of deaths registered in England and Wales for the week that ended April 10 was 75% higher than historical averages and at its highest level in more than 20 years.
The Financial Times has used this ONS data for “excess deaths” and accounted for delays in reporting and longer-term mortality trends to estimate that the actual number of pandemic-related deaths in the UK was 41,102.
The newspaper described this as a “conservative” estimate. If accurate, it would mean the UK is faring much worse than the government had predicted.
The UK’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, said on March 17 that a death toll of 20,000 and below would be a “good outcome” for the country.
The new estimate would mean the UK had already more than doubled that outcome with hundreds of additional deaths still being reported every day.
It would also support a recent prediction by Jeremy Farrar, a medical expert who is advising the government’s coronavirus response, that the UK might become the “worst affected” country in Europe.
UK under pressure to change how it records coronavirus deathsA volunteer marking coffins at Central Jamia Mosque Ghamkol Sharif in Birmingham, England, which is operating a temporary morgue during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is under growing pressure to change how it presents the UK’s death toll.
Care providers have said hundreds of elderly people in care homes are dying from the coronavirus but not being included in the government’s daily figures.
Other countries, such as France, already include these figures in their death counts.
The number of people who died in care homes after catching the coronavirus was 1,043 up until April 10, according to the ONS. This was a big increase on the 217 recorded the week before and suggests the number of people dying in care homes is much higher than the UK government has suggested.
“The government must now publish daily figures of COVID-19 deaths outside hospital, including in care homes, so we know the true scale of the problem,” said Liz Kendall, the Labour Party’s shadow minister for social care.
“This is essential to tackling the spread of the virus, ensuing social care has the resources it needs and getting vital PPE and testing to care workers on the front line.”
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