UK coronavirus death figures 15% higher than previously reported

14 April 2020, 09:45

The coronavirus death toll is higher than previous figures suggested
The coronavirus death toll is higher than previous figures suggested. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

At least 5,058 people died of coronavirus outside of hospital in England and Wales before 3 April, the Office of National Statistics has revealed.

According to the latest figures, there were at least 16,387 deaths by this date - up from the 11,329 that were known to have died inside NHS buildings.

Since the previous week, the total number of deaths in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland rose from 5,246 deaths to 16,387.

This is 6,082 more than the five year average for this week.

In London, nearly half (46.6%) of deaths registered in the week ending 3 April involved COVID-19; the West Midlands also had a high proportion of COVID-19 deaths, accounting for 22.1% of deaths registered in the region.

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Patients are now being treated at nightingale centres across the UK
Patients are now being treated at nightingale centres across the UK. Picture: PA

Currently, only those who are admitted to hospital with symptoms are tested for the virus.

Of the deaths registered in Week 14, 3,475 mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”, which was 21.2% of all deaths; this compares with 539 (4.8% of all deaths) in Week 13.

The difference between the coronavirus death figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and those published by NHS England and Public Health Wales is because of different methods of counting and reporting, the ONS explained.

The ONS death figures are based on the number of deaths registered in England and Wales where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate as "deaths involving Covid-19".

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Nick Stripe, head of health analysis and life events at the ONS said: “The 16,387 deaths that were registered in England and Wales during the week ending 3 April is the highest weekly total since we started compiling weekly deaths data in 2005.”

The number includes all deaths, not just those in hospitals, although there is usually a delay of at least five days between a death occurring and registration.

The figures published by NHS England and Public Health Wales are for deaths only among hospital patients who have tested positive for Covid-19, but include deaths that have not yet been registered.

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