The UK puts a mask on Coronavirus death tolls

  • The true death toll may be at least 15 percent higher, while the UK may face its 'deepest recession in 300 years'.
  • The UK's economy, meanwhile, could shrink by 13 percent this year due to the coronavirus shutdown
  • Government scientists have said the UK will do well if it manages to keep the coronavirus death toll below 20,000.


Numbers do matter!

The United Kingdom may have covered up the real numbers of death toll since the plague hit the Brits, according to broader official data that include deaths in the community such as in nursing homes.

The official British death toll was the fifth-highest globally, and a senior scientific adviser has indicated that the UK could be worst hit in Europe.

The number of death totaled 12,107 people On Tuesday after 778 people had died in the 24 hours after contracting coronavirus.

But figures released on Tuesday showed that number to be a vast under-counting of those who had died.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has included those who died in nursing homes in their tally and said 5,979 people in England had died by April 3 with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, mentioned on their death certificates which are 15 percent more than the numbers published by the health service at that time.

Undercounting has been a major issue thrown overboard to keep faith from sinking but a senior health official has attributed it to limited official data.

"I am not remotely surprised there would be an undercounting," Bill Hanage, associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard's TH Chan School of Public Health, told Reuters.

"The UK hospital death toll that you are seeing - the one on the news each night - is a composite of things that have been trickling in over a period of time. It is not an exact number and does not include the numbers dying in places such as nursing homes."

The new numbers, which reflect both deaths caused primarily by COVID-19 and where it is mentioned as a factor, show how limited official data has been so far. 

Public Health England Medical Director Yvonne Doyle said the government was working with the ONS to speed up the information.

"We just need to be absolutely clear that the cause of death that is attributed is correct and that is what takes time on the death certificate to get right," she said, adding the government hoped to produce more rapid data, preferably daily.