New data that has been published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has suggested the true death toll from the coronavirus could be as much as 35% more than the official figures from the government show.
The ONS said that by April 17, there were 21,284 deaths in England that had mentions of Covid-19 on their death certificates. The official figures from the government only showed 13,917. There were also a further 1,016 deaths recorded in Wales whereas the government only stated 534 in their daily toll. This means that the UK’s total death toll as of April 17 was higher than that of both France and Spain.
The reason for the difference in figures is that the data that the government release to the public only show those that died in hospitals and not those that have died in places such as nursing homes within the community. While many of those that had Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificates will have died from the virus, the rest may have just been suspected cases.
Care homes have been in the news a lot over the last few weeks as it has been reported that deaths have tripled in just three weeks. According to the stats by the ONS, there were 4,316 deaths involving Covid-19 outside hospitals in England and Wales, registered up to April 17. This is broken down as:
- 3,096 people died in care homes
- 190 died in hospices
- 883 died in private homes
- 147 died in other locations
The equivalent figure for hospital deaths over this period is 14,796.
Nick Stripe, a statistician for the ONS said that this has been the highest number of deaths registered in a single week since the ONS started. He told the BBC that it was nearly 2,000 deaths higher than the previous highest, which was in January 2000 and said that the number of deaths is 12,000 above the average for what the ONS would expect to see at this time of the year. Over the last four weeks now, there are about 27,000 deaths above average in that four week period. The latest hospital deaths data published on Monday show 21,092 people had died across the United Kingdom.