THE true UK coronavirus death toll has reached more than 44,000 – with 12,000 fatalities in care homes alone, shock new figures reveal today.
The Office for National Statistics figures show that 39,071 died from the virus in England and Wales up to May 8.
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Coronavirus has continued to spread through the UKCredit: w8media
A further 1,211 hospital patients in England who had tested positive for Covid-19 died between May 9 and May 17, according to figures published yesterday by NHS England.
Combined with the latest ONS stats for Scotland and Northern Ireland, it means a total of 44,094 have died across the UK.
The figure is 10,000 more than the official Department of Health stats – which today put the UK death toll at 34,970.
Stats also show that 121,002 deaths were registered in England and Wales between March 21 and May 8 2020. This includes both coronavirus and non-coronavirus related deaths.
The figure is 49,575 more deaths than the average for this period in the previous five years.
Stephen Powis, National Medical Director of NHS England, has previously warned that these excess deaths will be the “key measure” in assessing the impact of the bug.
Other key findings in today’s ONS stats reveal:
39,071 deaths involving the deadly bug occurred in England and Wales up to May 8
Coronavirus was responsible for 40 per cent of deaths in care homes
The number of deaths involving the virus was highest in the North West for the first time
49,575 more deaths than average for this time of year were registered in England and Wales between March 21 and May 8
Fatalities involving COVID-19 continued to decrease across all English regions and Wales for the second week running
Meanwhile, coronavirus was responsible for 39.2 per cent of all deaths in care homes.
Today’s ONS figures showed weekly coronavirus-related deaths in care homes have fallen for the second week running to 1,666 in the week ending May 8, from 2,423 deaths in the previous seven days – a decrease of 31%.
Yet worryingly, the London School for Economics has previously estimated the death toll in care homes could be as high as 22,000.
Credit: ONS Credit: ONS Credit: ONS
The situation in care homes has been thrust into the spotlight again this week amid a leaked report that claimed ministers knew a month ago that temporary workers were helping to spread the killer disease.
Today’s figures showed 9,762 fatalities were recorded in England to the Care Quality Commission, with Care Inspectorate Wales reporting 392.
The number across the UK then grows to almost 12,000 when including the most recent figures from Scotland – 1,434 deaths – and Northern Ireland – 296 deaths.
The true death toll figures in England and Wales comes after Scotland last week revealed there had been 3,213 deaths involving Covid-19 registered in the country up to May 10.
Northern Ireland last week also published their statistics showing 599 fatalities involving the bug had been registered up to May 13.
Today, the Department of Health confirmed another 174 fatalities, including a seven-year-old with underlying health conditions.
Overall, the number of excess deaths across the UK has reached almost 50,000 – with more research scheduled to understand the figures.
Nick Stripe, Head of Health Analysis, Office for National Statistics, told the BBC: “If we look at the UK as a whole, that is just under 55,000 excess deaths.
“So the gap between Covid-related and excess is about 25% of excess deaths are not explained by Covid being on the death certificate.”
He said that ONS’ report on Friday gave some insight into the excess deaths, with fatalities from dementia and Alzheimer disease increasing significantly.
He said: “(These deaths had) gone up very, very significantly during April, as had deaths from something known as ‘ill-defined conditions’.
“That is often where the certifying doctor puts things like frailty or old age on the death certificate.
“Usually in the very old, where there might not be a specific morbidity, but the patient has been unwell, you’ll often get these ill-defined conditions. And they were up significantly as well in April.”
SECOND SPIKE FEARS
A Department of Health and Social Care Spokesperson said: “Every death from this virus is a tragedy and our deepest sympathies go out to the families who have sadly lost relatives.
“Supporting the social care sector throughout this pandemic is a priority. We are working around the clock to give the social care sector the equipment and support they need.
“We are ensuring millions of items of PPE are available to care workers, using our increased testing capacity to test care home residents and staff regardless of symptoms and introducing our new £600m Infection Control Fund to help prevent the spread in care homes.”
It comes after Brits were last night warned to learn to live with coronavirus for “several years” and prepare for a possible second wave of the bug.
England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam warned the country will only “be out of this” once a vaccine has been found – and that Covid-19 may return again in autumn and winter.
Speaking during last night’s coronavirus briefing, Prof Van-Tam said it would take a vaccine “really capable of suppressing disease levels” for the country to be “out of this”.
Deaths in care homes have continued to mount
The ONS figures reveal the huge number of deaths in care homes in Wales
He added: “So from that perspective we may have to live, and learn to live, with this virus in the long-term, certainly for many months to come if not several years.”
Prof Van-Tam said further information is needed on the seasonality of Covid-19,
He said: “One of the things that’s very clear with flu viruses is that they come in our cold winters and the levels of transmission and circulation decline over the summer months.
“The data we have on other coronaviruses we have looked at very carefully, and it’s not clear that these coronaviruses are as seasonal as influenza.
“But there may be an element of seasonality and it may well be that the autumn and winter conditions provide a better environment for the virus to then do its work again.”
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The World Health Organisation (WHO) previously dubbed it “the most promising” treatment for Covid-19 among all the other medicines being studied in trials.
It comes after the Health Secretary announced coronavirus tests would be made available to anyone in the UK aged five or over, if they need it.
Matt Hancock said anyone can apply to have a test if they show signs of having the virus – including if they lose their sense of taste or smell.