England, Scotland and Wales have announced another 873 deaths from the coronavirus today, taking the UK’s total to 17,382.
This rise in fatalities is the biggest increase since Saturday, April 18 (888), and almost double the number that were announced yesterday (449).
Although the rebound looks bad on a graph it doesn’t mean the outbreak is getting worse because the deaths are backdated – 43 of them actually happened in March, and 493 were spread across Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
NHS data shows April 8 remains the deadliest day so far in the epidemic and, with today’s announcements added, the day believed to be the peak of the outbreak saw 815 hospital fatalities.
But the true number of coronavirus victims in the UK may still be 41 per cent higher than daily Government and NHS statistics are letting on.
Weekly data published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that at least 13,121 people had died in England and Wales by April 10.
Department of Health statistics had, by that date, announced only 9,288 fatalities – the backdated deaths increased the total by 41.2 per cent. That suggests the death toll of 17,382 confirmed today could in reality be closer to 25,000.
And care homes in England and Wales had recorded the deaths of at least 1,644 residents by April 10 – 10 per cent of all the UK’s COVID-19 deaths. Today’s update is one of the first real official glimpses of the crisis gripping the care sector.
Fifteen per cent of all people dying with COVID-19 were succumbing to their illness outside of hospitals, the stats showed, revealing the crisis cannot be managed solely by the NHS.
And one in every three people (33.6 per cent) who died of any cause between April 4 and April 10 had coronavirus.
That week, authorities recorded the most deaths for a single week in 20 years, with 18,516 people dying – 8,000 more than average. Around 6,200 of those were officially linked to the coronavirus, suggesting a further 1,800 were indirect ‘excess’ deaths or COVID-19 sufferers who never got tested.
The record number of fatalities coincides with what now appears to have been the peak of the UK’s COVID-19 outbreak on April 8, when NHS hospitals recorded 803 coronavirus patients dying.
The Office for National Statistics data, which reveals the true scale of coronavirus deaths, is now considerably higher than the Department of Health’s daily updates
Week 15 of this year (April 4 to April 10), when the coronavirus outbreak is believed to have peaked, was the deadliest week for more than 20 years in England and Wales, and more than a third of fatalities involved COVID-19
CARE HOMES BATTLE COVID-19 BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
The impact the coronavirus is having on nursing homes in the UK remains largely unseen, with no consistent testing in place for residents or staff and death statistics almost two weeks out of date.
Coronavirus tests are still restricted to hospital patients, NHS staff and ‘critical key workers’ – this is not yet thought to include care workers.
Any care home residents who are not admitted to hospital – and homes had been urged not to take patients to A&E unless it was necessary – will not be tested for COVID-19.
Companies running the homes say there are outbreaks in huge numbers of the facilities around the UK – up to two thirds of homes – but Health Secretary Matt Hancock last week said he was ‘confident’ that around 15 per cent were affected.
Office for National Statistics data today revealed that more than 1,600 residents had died with COVID-19 in homes in England and Wales by April 10 alone – more will have succumbed to the virus in the 10 days that have passed since.
But the ONS weekly data release is the only measure given to the public about how many people are dying outside of hospitals. Hospital statistics are released and updated every day.
Liz Kendall, Labour’s shadow minister for social care, said today: ‘These awful figures are only scratching the surface of the emerging crisis in social care because they are already 11 days out of date.’
‘This shows the terrible toll that coronavirus is having on elderly and disabled people in care homes,’ said Liz Kendall, the Labour Party’s shadow minister for social care.
‘Yet these awful figures are only scratching the surface of the emerging crisis in social care,’ she added, ‘because they are already 11 days out of date.
‘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.
‘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 frontline.’
Deaths that happened in care homes before April 11, and were officially reported by April 18, added up to 1,644, the ONS statistics showed.
And the organisation also revealed 466 people had died at home with the coronavirus, 87 had passed away in hospices, 21 in ‘other communal establishments’ and 45 elsewhere in the community.
The ONS data counts anybody who had COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificate, whether it was the main cause of death or not.
Statistician for the ONS, Sarah Caul, said in a blog post: ‘The figures published on GOV.UK are valuable because they are available very quickly, and give an indication of what is happening day by day…
‘But they won’t necessarily include all deaths involving COVID-19, such as those not in a hospital.’
Ms Caul said the ONS figures, although slow to prepare, are ‘the most accurate and complete information’.
The vast majority of coronavirus deaths are happening in hospitals, but today’s data suggests one in every 10 of them happens in a nursing home
London is still the region with the most deaths caused by coronavirus – 1,506 people there have died with the virus (24.3 per cent of all deaths in England and Wales)
THIRD OF ALL DEATHS LINKED TO COVID-19
One in every three people who died between April 4 and April 10 had the coronavirus mentioned on their death certificate, data revealed today.
Records from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that 6,213 deaths out of a total 18,516 in that week were linked to COVID-19.
This was a rate of 33.6 per cent, marking a huge rise on the 21.2 per cent in the week before, when almost half as many deaths (3,475) were tied to the disease.
As well as people dying as a direct result of catching the virus and falling ill with it, people are also believed to be becoming indirect victims of the epidemic.
A&E attendances for all conditions, and notably heart attacks, have plummeted since the outbreak started because people are afraid of catching the virus in hospital or burdening the NHS.
And others may face treatment delays or cancellations – all non-urgent operations have been cancelled, and some cancer therapies delayed – which risks putting their health at risk.
Today’s statistics showed that the coronavirus crisis has sent the number of people dying in England and Wales soaring.
The week between April 4 and April 10 recorded the most deaths in 20 years – since January 2000 – with 18,516 people dying.
This was a surge of 7,996 on the national average, and at least 6,213 of those people had COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificate.
That means there were 1,783 ‘excess’ deaths which may have been an indirect result of the outbreak, such as people avoiding going to hospital or not getting the medical help they needed because the NHS is so busy.
Professor Keith Neal, a disease expert at the University of Nottingham, said: ‘These latest figures from the ONS show that over 6,000 of the 8,000 excess deaths reported in the week up to 10th April 2020 were COVID-19 related.
‘We know deaths are occurring outside hospitals and this is the best way we have in determining this.’
This week, the deadliest for two decades, coincides with what scientists now believe was the peak of the UK’s coronavirus epidemic – April 8.
NHS statistics show that, in hospitals in England, 803 people died of COVID-19 on Wednesday, April 8, and no day before or since has recorded more fatalities.
Scientists now believe this was the peak of Britain’s devastating outbreak, which is one of the worst in the world with more than 125,000 people being diagnosed with the disease and at least 16,000 dying of it.
Professor David Paton, an economist at Nottingham University, said in a Twitter thread last week: ‘Of course it is possible that there will be another surge and another higher peak later on but recent declines in hospitalisations make that unlikely in the near future.’