Amid fears that the true death toll of coronavirus patients remains unclear, the ONS COVID-19 figures go some way toward revealing the true picture. Care staff workers say the actual numbers may be far higher. According to Tuesday’s ONS statistics, the number of people who died from the novel coronavirus in the week leading up to the 10 April is more than 40 per cent higher than the figures released during the daily government briefings which include only deaths occurring in hospitals. The ONS statistics not only take account of people dying from COVID-19 in care homes but also includes people passing away in the community. Recording the fatalities outside hospitals takes some days and results in a lag, thus shrouding the true scale of the pandemic in the UK. If these figures are applicable across the board, the UK may be suffering death rates that are comparable if not higher than Italy’s.
ONS COVID-19 figures breakdown
The newly reported numbers include fatalities with a mention of coronavirus on the death certificate even in cases where the person passed away due to underlying health issues. And, although the death certificate may record the existence of the novel coronavirus, the person may not have undergone a test.
For the week ending on 10 April, the government reported 9,288 coronavirus deaths. The ONS toll for the same period is more than 40 per cent higher at 13,121. Although in recent days the daily numbers of fatalities have been falling these statistics put the UK on a level with Spain and Italy, and Britain may end up the worst-hit European country.
Care homes have been hit especially hard. The death toll increased more than four-fold in a mere week rising from 217 to 1,043. According to the Guardian, Care England chief executive Prof Martin Green said that the number of coronavirus fatalities in care homes “could easily exceed what’s [happening] in hospitals” estimating that as of now approximately 7,500 people have passed away from COVID-19 in care home settings.
Reacting to the ONS report, social care shadow minister, Liz Kendall, said that the statistics were only “scratching the surface of the emerging crisis in social care” because they were “already 11 days out of date.” She went on to demand that the government “now publish daily figures of COVID-19 deaths outside hospital, including in care homes, so we know the true scale of the problem.”
Because of growing pressure on the government to improve its reporting, the ONS will begin publishing weekly care home coronavirus death statistics starting next week.
Financial Times analysis suggests 41,000 people may already have died from the novel coronavirus in the UK
On foot of the ONS COVID-19 figures, the Financial Times has carried out an extrapolation with the survey painting a stark picture.
An analysis of the ONS statistics together with the daily government numbers estimates that as of today, 41,000 people may have died already. During the FT extrapolation, analysts followed the latest trends in the number of all deaths, including at hospitals, in care homes and communal settings, at home, and within the community.
Experts believe UK peak may have been on 8 April
With a consistent death rate for 13 consecutive days, scientists now believe that the UK may have seen its peak on 8 April.
Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, Prof Carl Heneghan said, “from an epidemiological perspective we can say that the numbers are consistent with the peak happening on April 8.”