Dozens of bodies of UK coronavirus victims found at home after lying undiscovered for up to a fortnight

DOZENS of UK coronavirus victims have died at home alone during the pandemic and not been discovered for up to two weeks, doctors have said.

They have only been found after a family member, friend or neighbour raised the alarm and in many cases their bodies have started to decompose.

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Doctors believe several dozen such cases occurred in London during March, April and May.

Many of the cases involved elderly people living alone.

Dr Mike Osborn, a senior pathologist in London and the chair of the death investigation committee at the Royal College of Pathologists, told The Guardian: "People have lain undiscovered during the pandemic for seven to 14 days.

"I've seen plenty of such cases like this, where bodies are decomposed, in the Covid outbreak and also done postmortems in 'query Covid' cases [where the disease was suspected]."

Another pathologist, who has looked into a number of deaths which have gone undetected, told the newspaper: "I know of what we call 'decomps' involving people being found dead at home after not being heard from for a couple of weeks. The ones I know about have all been older people – over-60s – who lived alone."

Caroline Abrahams, the charity director of Age UK, said: "We always feared that a number of older people would be found dead alone at home, either victims of the virus or of something else, and it is extremely sad to find that this is indeed the case."

It is not known exactly how many people have died alone at home and not been found.

However every case has been referred to the local coroner, and inquests will take place in the months ahead.

While most of the cases involved older people living alone, in others the person found had mental health issues, such as schizophrenia or depression, or had severe learning disabilities.

Some are also believed to have used drugs, alcohol or both.

During the coronavirus crisis, doctors have certified the deaths of 700 people who lived at home in London.

One of the doctors said: "Colleagues have had cases of people not being found for five or even seven days. Sometimes they were only discovered by someone noticing a smell."


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