Recorded Deaths Significantly Higher Than Seasonal Average

The most recent data suggests that deaths registered in England and Wales for this time of year are at their highest levels since records began in 2005.

According to data for the week up to April 3, compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the 16,387 deaths recorded are statistically significantly higher than any other year since the records began 15 years ago.

As of April 3, the cumulative number of Covid-19 related deaths stood at 6,235, 15 per cent higher than NHS numbers (5,186) only taking officially tested cases into account.

This issue has been worrying many care home providers who feel isolated at the lack of testing and a perceived spike in suspected symptoms and cases going unreported. The ONS figures take all NHS data and all other mentions of suspected Covid-19 stated on death certificates.

The current disparity between daily reported cases using NHS data and actual total Covid-19 deaths is thought to be a gulf of around 9.7 per cent.

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, yesterday announced that care homes have been promised that all residents and staff displaying coronavirus symptoms will now be tested for the virus, as laboratory capacity increases, in a bid to narrow this gap, provide extra support to care homes and create more accurate figures.

Currently, only the first five residents displaying symptoms are tested for Covid-19 but there have been fear that more than 2,000 care homes have now been struck down by the virus and have little protective measures to prevent the spread.

With more than a fifth of all deaths now related to Covid-19 by the start of April, it is likely these figures will only increase further until the peak of the virus.

Since the ONS data for April 3, it is thought that deaths attributed to the virus have doubled and now stand at over 12,107.

Caroline Abrahams, of Age UK, suggested that ‘the current figures are airbrushing older people out like they don’t matter.’

It is hoped that new measures to record coronavirus cases will ensure care facilities are recognised, recorded, considered and helped a lot more in the future.

Nick Stripe, head of health analysis and life events at the ONS said:

“The latest comparable data for deaths involving COVID-19 with a date of death up to 3 April, show there were 6,235 deaths in England and Wales. When looking at data for England, this is 15% 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 3 April is the highest weekly total since we started compiling weekly deaths data in 2005.”

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said:

“I am deeply conscious that people in residential care are among the most vulnerable to coronavirus. We are doing everything we can to keep workers, residents and their families safe, and I am determined to ensure that everyone who needs a coronavirus test should be able to have access to one.

“We have already begun testing social care workers and will roll this out nationwide over the coming days. And as we continue to ramp up our testing programme, we will test all current care home residents with coronavirus symptoms and all new care home residents who are discharged from hospital into care.

“Testing is key in our battle against coronavirus, and as part of our plan to prevent the spread and save lives we will ensure that everyone in social care who needs a test can have a test.”

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