UK pushes back against COVID-19 death toll comparison with Italy

LONDON (Reuters) – Facing questions over why Britain’s death toll from the brand new coronavirus was now the second-worst in Europe after Italy, a British minister mentioned on Sunday folks shouldn’t soar to conclusions and the total image was not but clear.

A Police officer with folks in Trafalgar Square, following the outbreak of the coronavirus illness (COVID-19), London, Britain, May three, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

The death toll was 28,131 as of May 1, simply wanting the Italian complete, rising stress on the conservative authorities which has been accused by the opposition of getting acted too slowly within the early levels of the outbreak.

Ministers have rejected comparisons of the headline death toll with that of different nations, saying that extra mortality — the variety of deaths from all causes that exceed the typical for the time of 12 months — was a extra significant metric.

The most up-to-date accessible information confirmed there have been virtually 12,000 extra deaths in England and Wales within the week to April 17. Of these, just below 9,000 had been linked on the death certificates to COVID-19, the respiratory illness attributable to the brand new coronavirus.

Analysis by media together with Sky News and the Financial Times suggests these figures are worse than in different European nations.

Appearing on Sky News on Sunday, transport minister Grant Shapps rejected a suggestion that the proof on extra mortality confirmed the federal government’s response to the outbreak had failed.

“You need to look at that over a much longer period of time. So we’ll have to look back over a year I’m afraid, not to be evasive but we just won’t have that information,” Shapps mentioned. “It’s much more complex than you’re making it sound.”

He mentioned some impacts of the outbreak wouldn’t be identified for a very long time and that variations within the age and well being profiles of countries, in addition to inhabitants measurement and density, had been amongst many elements that must be taken under consideration.

“You have to look at the whole picture and that information simply isn’t available as yet,” he mentioned. “We shouldn’t look at the raw data and jump to conclusions.”


The UK National Statistician, Ian Diamond, additionally cautioned against counting on any “league table” of worst-affected nations.

“I’m not saying that we’re at the bottom of any potential league table, it’s almost impossible to calculate a league table, but I’m not prepared to say that we’re heading for the top,” he mentioned throughout an interview on BBC News.

Diamond, the top of the Office of National Statistics (ONS) which collates extra deaths numbers, mentioned it was “unbelievably difficult” to make worldwide comparisons.

He mentioned the best way Britain was counting and reporting its coronavirus-related deaths was probably the most clear, as a result of the ONS was together with deaths the place COVID-19 was talked about on the death certificates even when the particular person had not been examined.

In another nations, solely individuals who had examined optimistic for the brand new coronavirus earlier than they died are included within the official statistics.

Reporting by Estelle Shirbon, Editing by Timothy Heritage

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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