England and Wales announce hudreds more coronavirus deaths
England and Wales announce 414 more coronavirus deaths – taking Britain’s total fatality count to 27,594
- NHS England confirmed another 370 COVID-19 victims in hospitals in last day
- But the number of deaths elsewhere in the community has yet to be revealed
- Wales has suffered 44 more fatalities in all settings, including care homes
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
England and Wales have announced 414 more coronavirus deaths, taking Britain’s official fatality toll to 27,594.
NHS England confirmed another 370 COVID-19 victims in hospitals. But the number of deaths elsewhere in the community has yet to be revealed.
Patients in England were aged between 38 and 100 years old, and 25 of them had no known underlying health conditions.
Wales recorded 44 more fatalities in the last 24 hours, while Scotland and Northern Ireland are still to announce their figures this afternoon.
The Department of Health has yet to post the official daily update, which takes into account all fatalities outside of hospital.
It does not provide a clear daily breakdown of how many occurred in different settings, such as hospitals.
Ministers finally caved in to mounting pressure this week to include COVID-19 fatalities in care homes in the daily updates, amid claims thousands of victims were being missed.
Jamie Jenkins, a former analyst at the Office for National Statistics, said deaths in care homes could mean the total is closer to 45,000.
It comes after the Government’s national testing co-ordinator insisted the country’s 100,000 daily testing target had been met.
But ministers were accused of fiddling with figures after it emerged home test kits were being counted even if they hadn’t been returned and analysed in a lab.
The pandemic is killing twice as many Britons in deprived areas as it is in wealthy regions, a report by the Office for National Statistics revealed yesterday
Boroughs in London accounted for all of the top ten worst hit local authorities, the ONS report showed
Professor John Newton told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘All the tests are only counted once, and you can count tests when they go out or when they come back in, and whichever way you do it we still meet the target.’
But experts told MailOnline the Government was being ‘very sneaky’ by including tests which had not yet been processed in a lab in its daily count.
Britain’s official daily death toll has not yet been released and the final number is expected to be much higher because of the new scheme to include deaths in all settings – not just hospitals.
Mr Jenkins says the figure reflects the difference in the number of people who have died since the pandemic began in Britain, compared to the average number of deaths during the same period over the last five years.
The former head health analyst at the ONS says figures from the UK’s stats authority suggests around 90 per cent of these ‘excess deaths’ could be related to Covid-19.
Using this data, around 42,000 people in England and Wales and 3,000 in Scotland could have died in ways related to Covid-19 between the start of the pandemic and April 29, he says.
Mr Jenkins, who has been posting daily chart updates on his Twitter account, said his analysis takes into other factors, including a lower number of road deaths due to the reduced traffic while the country is in lockdown.
He says the difference in the excess death figures and the government’s official Covid-19 death figures could be due explained by deaths in care homes and the community.
Initially government figures were solely those who died in hospital. But on Wednesday, the government added a further 4,000 deaths in care homes and the community.
Mr Jenkins said: ‘Previously the figures included those who died in hospital who had a mention of Covid-19 on their death certificate.
‘But if people were not being tested in care homes for example, and doctors were reluctant at first to mention it if they didn’t know, those will not be marked in the figures.
‘Now the government is testing in care homes, the figures are likely to come more in line with the excess death figures.’
Mr Jenkins’ analysis of the figures shows that on average there were 12,741 in the first week of the year over the last five years.
But figures were lower this year, at around 11,900 – something which Mr Jenkins says was down to a weaker strain of seasonal flu.
That trend continued until week 12 of the year, the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, when this year’s weekly deaths overtook the average.
The 2020 figure then continued to surge up until the last three weeks, where the number of weekly deaths was around 20,000 people – around double the five year average.
Mr Jenkins says the lower then average death rate at the start of the year, from the weaker form of seasonal flu, may have contributed to the higher death rate at the start of the Covid-19 outbreak.
He said: ‘We had a very bad flu season in 2015 and 2018 in the UK.
‘Going into 2020 it seems, on average, the mortality rate was much lower for flu than the five year average.
‘There was around 14,000 fewer deaths this year compared to the five year average prior to the coronavirus outbreak.
‘Many of those 14,000 who survived the weaker flu were probably people who would have bee susceptible to Covid-19.’
As reported previously reported by MailOnline, government figures were initially focused on those who died in hospital.
On Wednesday, the government added more than 3,800 deaths from those who had passed away from Covid-19 in care homes and the community
But the figures were at odds with ONS figures, which showed at least 4,996 deaths were recorded in care homes in the two weeks to 24 April.
It comes among a huge increase in testing across the UK.
Last night, Health Secretary Matt Hancock declared at a press briefing that there had been 122,000 tests in the 24 hours to 9am yesterday, a huge increase from barely 10,000 at the beginning of April.
Mr Hancock said last night that the next phase of dealing with Covid-19 – which will include more community testing and contact tracing – will allow the Government ‘to reassert, as much as is safely possible, the liberty of us all’.
But it emerged around 40,000 of those tests counted had been posted out to homes and hospitals – and not actually processed.
The government’s testing coordinator Prof John Newton this morning told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the target had been met ‘whichever way you count it’, but warned people ‘not to get too hung up on the targets.’
Earlier this week Boris Johnson declared that Britain is ‘past the peak’ of coronavirus – but urged the public to ‘keep going’ with lockdown to avoid a fresh outbreak.
So far there have been more than 177,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK, with the highest number of new cases coming on April 11, when there was 8719.
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