2,000 extra coronavirus deaths recorded outside hospitals in England and Wales, official figures show

Office data shows deaths in England and Wales in the seven days to 3 April was the highest weekly total since records began. Almost half of all deaths in London were linked to coronavirus

Shaun Lintern
Health Correspondent
Tuesday 14 April 2020 10:52 BST
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There were 2,100 more deaths linked to coronavirus in England and Wales by 3 April than reported by the government, new official figures have revealed.

According to the Office for National Statistics there 6,235 deaths involving Covid-19 by 3 April compared with the 4,093 number reported by the Department of Health and Social Care.

The increase is because the ONS is including deaths in community settings such as care homes and private homes and are based on death certificates that mention coronavirus.

The ONS said there was a total of 16,387 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 3 April, the highest weekly total since deaths data started to be recorded weekly in 2005.

Of the deaths registered, 3,475 mentioned coronavirus, which is 21 per cent of all deaths, compared to 539 deaths and 4.8 per cent of all deaths in the previous week.

In London nearly half of deaths, 46.6 per cent, involved COVID-19 in the seven days to 3 April.

The West Midlands also had a high proportion of Covid-19 deaths, accounting for 22 per cent of deaths.

Of deaths involving coronavirus registered for the week ending 3 April, 3,716 occurred in hospital with the remainder occurring in hospices, care homes and private homes, the ONS said.

Nick Stripe, head of health analysis and life events at ONS said: “The latest comparable data for deaths involving Covid-19 with a date of death up to April 3, shows there were 6,235 deaths in England and Wales.

“When looking at data for England, this is 15 per cent higher than the NHS numbers as they include all mentions of Covid-19 on the death certificate, including suspected Covid-19, as well as deaths in the community.

“The 16,387 deaths that were registered in England and Wales during the week ending April 3 is the highest weekly total since we started compiling weekly deaths data in 2005.”

There is mounting concern that the impact of coronavirus in care home settings including deaths of those in care are not getting sufficient attention.

But charities have warned that older people were being "airbrushed out" of figures, with Sir David Behan, chair of the UK's largest care home operator saying the virus was present in two-thirds of its care homes.

Tory peer Baroness Altmann said some people from care homes had told her they felt elderly people were being treated like "lambs to the slaughter".

On Monday, chief medical officer Chris Whitty said there had been 92 new coronavirus outbreaks in care homes across Britain in 24 hours, with 13.5 per cent of homes affected.

Liz Kendall MP, Labour’s shadow minister for social care said: “We urgently need these figures on a daily basis to help deal with the emerging crisis in social care and ensure everything possible is being done to protect more than 400,000 elderly and disabled people who live in nursing and residential care homes.

“The government has rightly said the NHS will get whatever resources it needs to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. This must also apply to social care, which needs a much greater priority and focus than it has had so far.”

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, from the Local Government Association said: "Every death to this disease is a tragedy and our thoughts and sympathies are with all those affected. These figures begin to shine a light on the impact of coronavirus in care settings and on older and disabled people who use social care services. They are another stark reminder of the severe pressures facing care providers and the desperate need to ensure key issues, such as personal protective equipment, testing and safe discharge from hospital are urgently prioritised."

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