Coronavirus deaths in England and Wales 41% higher than previously thought

21 April 2020, 09:54

The coronavirus death toll could be higher than previously thought
The coronavirus death toll could be higher than previously thought. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

New figures from the Office for National Statistics show the number of deaths from Covid-19 could be 41% higher than previously reported in England and Wales.

The new figures show there were 13,121 deaths in England and Wales up to April 10 - compared to the 9,288 announced at the time.

The difference in data is due to deaths that occurred outside hospitals - including at care homes, hospices and private homes - as well as delays in recording fatalities.

According to the statistics, 83.9% (8,673 deaths) occurred in hospital, while 18% were outside.

The ONS stats showed that a third of all deaths in the week up to April 10 were down to coronavirus - compared to one in five the week before.

In London, more than half of all deaths registered involved the deadly bug.

Labour said the figures were only "scratching the surface of the emerging crisis in social care," and urged the Government to publish full figures every day.

Liz Kendall MP, Labour's Shadow Minister for Social Care, commenting on the ONS statistics showing a large increase in Covid-19 deaths in care homes, said: "This shows the terrible toll that Coronavirus is having on elderly and disabled people in care homes.

"Yet these awful figures are only scratching the surface of the emerging crisis in social care, because they are already 11 days out of date.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."

According to the ONS, the numbers are based on where the coronavirus is mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, including in combination with other health conditions.

Of the deaths:

- 1,043 took place in care homes

- 466 in private homes

- 87 in hospices

- 21 in other communal establishments, and

- 45 elsewhere

The equivalent figure for hospitals deaths over this period is 8,673.

The ONS figures also show there were 12,516 deaths involving Covid-19 in England up to April 10 (and which were registered up to April 18), compared with 10,260 deaths in hospitals in England for the same period, reported by NHS England.

The ONS total is 22% higher than the total published by NHS England.

This is because the ONS figures include all mentions of Covid-19 on a death certificate, including suspected Covid-19, as well as deaths in the community.

The NHS figures only include deaths in hospitals where a patient has been tested for Covid-19.