Deaths from Covid-19 (coronavirus): how are they counted and what do they show?

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Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is the name given to the disease associated with the virus Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). This virus was unknown before 2020, but since then it has had a profound effect on the lives of us all – most profoundly and tragically when it kills. This article examines how deaths from Covid-19 are counted and what the numbers to date show. 

Summary

  • Covid-19 deaths are reported weekly by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and daily on GOV.UK for the UK as a whole and the constituent countries individually. The two data sources use different definitions and serve different purposes. 1
  • The overall death toll from Covid-19 from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to 9 April 2021 was 137,000, one in five of all deaths in England and Wales during this period.
  • There have been two waves of Covid-19 deaths in England and Wales, causing a surge in total deaths. The first wave from about March to August 2020 caused 52,000 Covid-19 deaths and 25 per cent more total deaths compared with the 2015–19 average for the corresponding period. The second wave from September 2020 to 9 April 2021 caused an additional 85,000 Covid-19 deaths, with 14 per cent more deaths than the 2015–19 average. 
  • Covid-19 has changed the health profile of England’s population radically by becoming the leading cause of death, accounting for 20 per cent of all deaths during the pandemic and exceeding deaths from the most common killers in preceding years (eg, dementia and Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, stroke and lung cancer). Covid-19 may also have caused increased deaths from serious conditions such as heart disease and stroke because of fewer people receiving health care for non-Covid-19 conditions. 
  • Compared with 2015–19, from March 2020 to 9 April 2021 significantly fewer non-Covid-19 deaths occurred in hospital and 40 per cent more occurred at home because of the large numbers of Covid-19 patients in hospital during much of the pandemic. The first wave saw a surge in care home deaths, with almost 26,000 excess deaths compared with the 2015–19 average, almost half (44 per cent) of all excess deaths in England and Wales.
  • The pandemic has had an unequal impact regionally. The highest numbers of Covid-19 deaths in 2020 and to week ending 9 April 2021 have been in the South East and North West of England. Covid-19 deaths as a proportion of total deaths during this period have been highest in London (23.4 per cent) and the North West (18.4 per cent), and lowest in the South West (10.1 per cent). 
  • Some population groups have a higher risk of dying from Covid-19 than others. Mortality rates are affected by:
    • age and gender: mortality rates rise sharply with age and are higher among men than women
    • co-morbidities: mortality rates are significantly higher among people with pre-existing conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes
    • deprivation: in 2020 the mortality rate from Covid-19 was almost three times higher in the most deprived compared with the least deprived decile of areas; the difference between the most and least deprived areas in non-Covid-19 causes of deaths was two-fold  
    • ethnicity: people from some ethnic minority groups have a significantly higher risk of being infected by Covid-19 and dying from it. In the first wave mortality was highest among Black groups and in the second wave among Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups 
    • occupation: mortality rates from Covid-19 are higher among people working in some public-facing occupations and in close proximity to others, such as nurses, social care workers, security guards, transport workers, and sales and retail assistants
    • obesity: excess weight is associated with an increased risk of a positive test for Covid-19, hospitalisation, severe disease and death
    • disability: mortality from Covid-19 is significantly higher among people with a self-reported disability or a learning disability diagnosed by a medical practitioner. 
  • Excess mortality in the UK in 2020 ranked 7th out of 22 European countries for which data was available, with only Spain, Belgium and some East European countries having even higher rates. However, this masks different patterns for the two waves: the UK had the highest excess mortality rate in Europe in the first wave to June 2020, but not in the second wave that followed (and continued into 2021), or in 2020 overall. For people under 65 years old, the UK had the highest excess mortality rate in 2020 overall, well above other European countries except for Bulgaria. 
  • Compared with 2019, life expectancy at birth in England in 2020 fell by 1.3 years for males (from 80 years to 78.7) and 0.9 years for females (from 83.6 to 82.7), primarily as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic – the biggest fall since World War II.
  • Life expectancy fell by nearly 2 years in the poorest decile of areas compared with 1 year in the richest, and the fall was greatest in London (2.5 and 1.6 years for males and females respectively) and the West Midlands (1.8 and 1.5 years), and lowest in the South West (0.6 and 0.8 years). 
  • 1. The ONS numbers include deaths where Covid-19 was recorded as a cause of death on the death certificate, whether or not there was a laboratory-confirmed test and irrespective of the interval from date of testing positive for those who were tested. The GOV.UK numbers include only deaths within 28 days of a positive test. (See ‘How are Covid-19 deaths counted?’ section for further details). The ONS figures are used throughout this report.

Why does the UK count deaths?

Mortality data has many uses. It can be used to assess population health and health care needs, plan health and other public services, evaluate the effectiveness of such services, identify inequalities, inform medical research and more. Information from death certificates compiled by the ONS provides the main source of national data on deaths. Details of the deceased person, such as name, date of birth, gender, cause and place of death, are recorded on the death certificate. The aggregated ‘vital statistics’ produced from this information are used to calculate mortality rates for different causes of death. The data can also be analysed in different ways, for example, to show how mortality rates vary between different population groups and areas and how they are changing over time.  

As with deaths from other causes, deaths from Covid-19 are registered and recorded in official statistics. However, these processes take time and some delay in reporting the numbers is unavoidable. Being a new, hazardous to health and highly infectious virus, monitoring its spread and impact on a daily basis is vital for containing and managing it. This means new ways of counting Covid-19 deaths had to be developed.  

How are deaths usually counted?

Registration of deaths is mandatory in most countries. Deaths in England and Wales are required by law to be registered within five days, unless there is a coroner’s post-mortem or an inquest. A medical certificate of cause of death (MCCD) is required for the death to be registered. The doctor who last attended the deceased has a legal responsibility to complete the MCCD, but if this isn’t possible for any reason, eg, if the doctor is self-isolating, the Coronavirus Act 2020 allows any doctor to complete the MCCD.  

Among the personal details of the deceased person recorded on the death certificate is the cause/causes of death. Every death has an ‘underlying’ cause recorded, and any other causes that may have contributed to the death (‘contributory’ causes) – taken together, these are called ‘mentions’ (deaths with a cause appearing anywhere on the death certificate).  

For many conditions, eg, lung cancer and stroke, the ONS uses the underlying cause to count deaths. However, like influenza, Covid-19 can cause death directly or precipitate death from other causes, hence ONS uses ‘mentions’ to get a more complete count of Covid-19 deaths.  

How are Covid-19 deaths counted?

There are two main data sources on numbers of Covid-19 deaths nationally. They use different definitions and serve different purposes.

  • The Department of Health and Social Care releases daily updates (on GOV.UK) on the number of deaths in the UK and its constituent countries in all settings that occur within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, based on figures reported by public health agencies up to the previous day. This measure provides a measure of recent epidemic activity.

    A supplementary measure of deaths that occur within 60 days of a positive test is also published. This includes people who experience prolonged illness from Covid-19 before dying, and provides a more complete measure of the burden of the disease over time.

    Timely monitoring of Covid-19 deaths is vital for tracking the pandemic. The GOV.UK figures are useful for informing the government’s response to the pandemic because they are available quickly and indicate what’s happening to deaths daily. But the GOV.UK figures don’t include deaths in people where Covid-19 was not confirmed by testing, or the test was negative, which could underestimate the numbers of deaths. Some negative tests may be ‘false negatives’ if, for example, the virus was present in small amounts or the specimen from the throat or nose wasn’t taken correctly. Moreover, these are deaths in people with Covid-19 but could have resulted from a different cause. Finally, the GOV.UK numbers are simple counts without details about the people who died, so they cannot be analysed further.
  • The ONS provides figures weekly based on deaths certified and registered in England and Wales with Covid-19 as an underlying or contributory cause of death (ie, all ‘mentions’ of Covid-19 on death certificates). The figures include Covid-19 deaths whether tested for Covid-19 or suspected by the certifying doctor based on the deceased’s symptoms.

    ONS data has a reporting delay of 11 days from the date of death due to processes around death certification and registration. This is a significant limitation for monitoring and response planning when numbers of deaths are changing rapidly. But the ONS data includes deaths in people who have tested positive and also those not tested but where the doctor believed Covid-19 caused or contributed to the death based on the deceased’s symptoms; this makes data coverage more complete. Moreover, the ONS data is derived from death certificates, and includes only deaths where the doctor believed Covid-19 caused or contributed to the death, making cause of death as involving Covid-19 more reliable. Finally, because ONS data is based on death certificates that record details about the deceased, it can be analysed in different ways to examine mortality patterns, for example, by age, gender, cause of death, area, place of death. This is important because, for example, such analyses show that men, older people and those living in urban areas are at greater risk of dying from Covid-19.

    The commentary in this report is based on the ONS data as it provides the most complete and detailed source of data on Covid-19 deaths. All the data is provisional and subject to revision.

How many Covid-19 deaths have occurred and what impact have they had on overall mortality?

2020 got off to a good start. There were about 4,800 fewer total deaths in England and Wales from January to March 2020 than the 2015–19 average for the same period, in part due to a mild influenza season in the 2019–20 winter. Starting in March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic struck England and Wales in two waves, running roughly from mid-March to August 2020 and from September 2020 to April 2021 (see Figure 1).2

The first wave caused almost 52,000 Covid-19 deaths and 25 per cent more deaths compared with the 2015–19 average for England and Wales for the corresponding period, amounting to 59,000 excess deaths. In the second wave, although Covid-19 deaths initially increased more slowly than in the first wave, there was a post-Christmas surge and overall the rise was more sustained, resulting in an additional 85,000 Covid-19 deaths and 49,000 excess deaths to 9 April 2021. A notable feature of the second wave was that non-Covid-19 deaths have been significantly below the 2015–19 average; this could be because some deaths occurred prematurely during earlier periods of the pandemic, or because Covid-19 caused some deaths among people who may otherwise have died during this period from other causes such as influenza.

The overall death toll from Covid-19 to 9 April 2021 is 137,000, 1 in 5 of all deaths in England and Wales during this period. 

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In addition to its direct impact on overall mortality, there are concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic causing an increase in deaths from other serious conditions such as heart disease. There has been a significant fall in numbers of people seeking and receiving health care from GPs, accident and emergency and other health care services for other conditions. Routine and elective care, and referrals and care for cancer and other outpatient referrals, have also had to be postponed or cancelled because of the pressures on NHS services during the pandemic, leading to backlogs in diagnosis and treatment. In fact, a comparison of mortality in 2020 and January/February 2021 with the 2015–19 averages shows that mortality rates for most leading non-Covid-19 causes of death were lower in 2020; this could, in part, reflect some substitution of non-Covid-19 causes of death to Covid-19. Mortality effects could also be delayed and it is too early to say what the full impact of the pandemic on deaths from other conditions will be.  

  • 2. The number of deaths registered in a given week may be affected by bank holidays.

How do numbers of Covid-19 deaths compare with deaths from other causes?

Covid-19 has changed the health profile of the population radically. In 2020, it became the leading cause of death in England, accounting for 12 per cent of all deaths, and exceeding deaths from the most common causes of death in preceding years, such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, stroke and lung cancer (see Table 1). Overall, during the pandemic, from March 2020 to 9 April 2021, Covid-19 caused 20 per cent of all deaths. 

Table 1 Leading causes of death, England, 2020 and 2015–19 average
Leading causes of death in 202020202015–19 average
Number of deathsPer cent of total deathsNumber of deathsPer cent of total deaths
Covid-1969,10112.100.0
Dementia and Alzheimer's disease66,06011.661,92812.5
Ischaemic heart diseases51,9799.153,42910.8
Cerebrovascular diseases27,6814.929,9436.0
Chronic lower respiratory diseases26,9174.729,6816.0
Malignant neoplasm of trachea, bronchus and lung26,5714.728,1085.7
Influenza and pneumonia    18,6563.325,9695.2
Malignant neoplasm of colon, sigmoid, rectum and anus15,9602.813,8662.8
Symptoms, signs and ill-defined conditions 14,3852.512,0782.4
Malignant neoplasms, stated or presumed to be primary of lymphoid, haematopoietic and related tissue    11,1091.911,0972.2
Other241,35142.4230,21046.4
Total deaths569,770100.0496,370100.0

Source: ONS

Where are Covid-19 deaths taking place?

During 2015–19, 47 per cent of all deaths in England and Wales occurred in hospital, 24 per cent at home, 22 per cent in care homes and 7 per cent elsewhere. This pattern changed with the pandemic, with the proportion of deaths between March 2020 and 9 April 2021 occurring in hospital falling (to 43 per cent) and those occurring at home rising (to 28 per cent). These overall proportions fluctuated significantly depending on the phase of the pandemic (see Figure 2). 

Deaths in hospital rose sharply in the two waves of the pandemic, especially post-Christmas, driven by a surge in Covid-19 deaths (see Figure 2a). Notably, from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to 9 April 2021, 68,000 fewer non-Covid-19 deaths occurred in hospital compared with the average number of deaths in hospital in 2015–19. Given the excess non-Covid-19 deaths that occurred at home (see below), this suggests that some deaths that would normally have occurred in hospital occurred at home. 

Deaths in care homes increased sharply in the first wave to more than three times the 2015–19 average (see Figure 2b), with almost 26,000 excess deaths compared with the 2015–19 average, comprising almost half (44 per cent) of all excess deaths nationally. The relatively low proportion (60 per cent) of excess care home deaths attributed to Covid-19 in the first wave likely reflects the later roll-out of testing in care homes compared with hospitals, and some under-recording of Covid-19 as a cause of death among older people with co-morbidities. The rise in care home deaths in the second wave to 9 April 2021 was more moderate, resulting in 900 excess deaths compared with the 2015–19 average, just 2 per cent of excess deaths nationally. While Covid-19 deaths increased sharply, non-Covid-19 deaths were significantly below the 2015–19 average, indicating that the pandemic caused premature deaths among older people and/or that Covid-19, instead of other causes such as influenza, claimed some lives. 

Total deaths at home have been above the 2015–19 average throughout the pandemic (see Figure 2c), especially during the peaks of the two waves. Overall, from March 2020 to 9 April 2021, there were 55,000 excess deaths at home, 40 per cent above the 2015–19 average. The proportion of excess deaths involving Covid-19 was just 14 per cent. It is likely that some of these home deaths would, under normal circumstances, have occurred in hospital but were ‘displaced’ because of the large numbers of Covid-19 patients in hospital during much of the pandemic. 

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What is the impact of Covid-19 on different parts of England and Wales?

The pandemic has had an unequal impact regionally (see Table 2). The highest numbers of Covid-19 deaths in 2020 and to 9 April 2021 have been in the South East and the North West. Covid-19 deaths as a proportion of total deaths during this period have been highest in London (23.4 per cent) and the North West (18.4 per cent), and lowest in the South West (10.1 per cent). 

Table 2 Deaths registered between 28 December 2019 and 9 April 2021, England and Wales
 Total deathsCovid-19 deathsCovid-19 deaths as per cent of total deaths
North East41,7286,86216.4
North West109,45320,08618.4
Yorkshire and The Humber77,98212,65916.2
East Midlands68,92811,56716.8
West Midlands85,80915,08817.6
East86,85015,03217.3
London81,05918,98823.4
South East123,55020,64516.7
South West80,5438,12110.1
Wales49,1237,80715.9
England and Wales805,025136,85517.0

 

What is the impact of Covid-19 on different population groups?

Some groups in England and Wales have a higher risk of dying from Covid-19.

Age: while some young and middle-aged adults can develop serious complications or die from Covid-19, the risks rise sharply with age because immune systems tend to deteriorate with age and because older people are more likely to have chronic conditions. For example, the mortality rate from Covid-19 in England and Wales at age 80–84 is about eight times greater than at age 60–64. 

Gender: males have higher Covid-19 mortality than females. For example, from March 2020 to February 2021 the age-standardised mortality rate for Covid-19 among males in England and Wales was about 60 per cent higher than that of females. The excess number of deaths in males over females was lower (19 per cent) because males have a younger age structure than females and therefore fewer numbers in the highest-risk age groups. Various reasons have been suggested for the gender difference in Covid-19 mortality, but none has been scientifically established yet. 

Pre-existing disease: about 88 per cent of people dying from Covid-19 have a pre-existing condition. For example, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, respiratory disease and obesity are twice as prevalent among people dying of Covid-19 than those dying from other causes; at ages under 65, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity were over three times more common. Pre-existing conditions may weaken immune systems and reduce the ability to fight infection. 

Deprivation: Socio-economic inequalities in health and mortality in England and Wales have been reported for decades and are widening. The direct and indirect impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic have exacerbated this inequality, eg, because of differences in occupational exposure to infection and higher levels of pre-existing disease, obesity and household density among more deprived groups. The impact of Covid-19 has been greatest in more deprived areas. ONS data for March to December 2020 for England shows that the Covid-19 death rate in the most deprived decile of areas (266.3 deaths per 100,000 population) was almost three times higher than the rate in the least deprived decile (96.1). In contrast, the mortality rate for non-Covid-19 causes of death in the most deprived areas (1,297.6  per 100,000 population) was double that in the least deprived areas ( 670.6). Deprived areas such as Newham, Tower Hamlets and Barking and Dagenham in London, and Manchester, Liverpool, Salford, Rochdale and Tameside had the highest Covid-19 mortality rates in 2020. 

Ethnicity: People from ethnic minority groups have a significantly higher risk of being diagnosed with Covid-19 and dying from it. In the first wave, after adjusting for geographical, socio-demographic, household and pre-existing health-related factors, all ethnic minority groups other than Chinese had higher Covid-19 mortality rates than people in the white group, rates being about double in people from Black groups.Preliminary data for the second wave to December 2020 suggests that only people from the South Asian group, from Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups in particular, continued to have higher mortality.

People from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are at increased risk of Covid-19 infection because they are more likely to live in urban areas and overcrowded households, experience socio-economic deprivation, and work in occupations (such as health and social care, transport) that expose them to higher risk. Structural racism can reinforce these socio-economic inequalities among ethnic minority groups. A higher prevalence of co-morbidities also contributes to excess mortality in some groups.. However, the reasons for the ethnic differences in Covid-19 outcomes are not yet fully understood.

Ethnicity is not currently recorded on death certificates but, following the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on ethnic minority communities, the government has said it will be introduced in England (Scotland introduced it in 2012).

Occupation: Mortality rates from Covid-19 are higher among people working in public-facing occupations and close proximity to others, such as nurses, social care workers including home carers, security guards, transport workers, sales and retail assistants. There are gender differences: two-thirds of Covid-19 deaths among the working age population are among men, whose mortality rate is almost double that of women. The factors associated with these occupational risks include exposure to infection, where people live (mortality is higher among people living in deprived, urban areas), and the proportion of workers from ethnic minority groups. 

Obesity: Excess weight is associated with an increased risk of a positive test for Covid-19, hospitalisation, severe disease and death. The risks increase progressively with increasing body mass index (BMI) above the healthy weight range.

Disability:3 People in England with a disability have a higher risk of dying from Covid-19. For deaths to 20 November 2020, the risk of dying was 2–3 times higher in disabled men and women compared with non-disabled people; after adjustment for demographic, socio-economic and health related factors, the risk was up to 1.4 times higher. For people with a medically diagnosed learning disability, the risk of dying from Covid-19 was 3.7 times greater compared with people without a learning disability. After adjustment for a range of factors, among which communal living was the most significant contributor, the risk remained 1.7 times higher.

  • 3. Analysis of disability was based on responses to a question in the 2011 Census, reflecting individuals’ own assessment of disability. Learning disability is based on clinical diagnosis by a medical practitioner.

How do the numbers of Covid-19 deaths in UK compare with other countries?

International comparisons of Covid-19 deaths are unreliable because of differences between countries in the way Covid-19 deaths are recorded. All-cause mortality avoids these problems and also takes into account the indirect impact of the pandemic, such as deaths from other causes that could be related to delayed access to health care.

If viewing this chart on mobile, rotate your phone to landscape mode to see these charts in full.


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ONS analysed excess all-cause mortality in European countries, including the UK, in 2020 compared with the 2015–19 averages (see Figures 3a, 3b and 4). The percentages in the graphs measure excess mortality in 2020 compared with 2015–19: a plus value shows higher mortality and a minus value shows lower mortality. 

The ONS results show that the timing of surges and declines in the pandemic’s death toll in 2020 differed between European countries, with western European countries (including the UK) experiencing the heaviest death toll in spring to summer 2020, whereas central and eastern European countries experienced their first surge in autumn/winter 2020. 

Excess mortality in the UK in 2020 overall ranked 7th out of 22 European countries,4 with only Spain, Belgium and some East European countries having even higher rates (see Figure 3b). However, this masks different patterns for the two waves: the UK had the highest excess mortality rate in Europe in the first wave to June 2020, but not in the later months of the year. In contrast, some countries including Denmark, Norway, Finland, Estonia, experienced no excess mortality in 2020.

For people under 65 years old, the UK had excess mortality rates in 2020 overall that were well above other European countries except for Bulgaria (see Figure 4). 
 

  • 4. Data for some European countries (eg, Republic of Ireland, Germany, Italy) was not available, hence they are not included in the ONS analysis.

What impact has Covid-19 had on life expectancy?


Compared with 2019, life expectancy at birth in England in 2020 fell by 1.3 years for males (from 80 years to 78.7) and 0.9 years for females (from 83.6 to 82.7), primarily as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Such a drop is unprecedented in modern times, and is the biggest fall in life expectancy since the Second World War. The fall is all the more worrying as improvements in life expectancy had slowed significantly in the decade before the pandemic.

The fall in life expectancy in 2020 has had more impact on some areas than others. Life expectancy fell by nearly 2 years in the poorest decile of areas compared with 1 year in the richest, increasing the gap between the richest and the poorest to 10.2 years for males and 8.5 years for females. The fall was greatest in London (2.5 and 1.6 years for males and females respectively) and the West Midlands (1.8 and 1.5 years), and lowest in the South West (0.6 and 0.8 years).
 

Conclusion

Covid-19 has had a significant impact on overall numbers of deaths, where they occur and some population groups. The virus precipitated many deaths prematurely among vulnerable groups, and cut short many lives.  

The excess deaths during the pandemic caused life expectancy in England in 2020 to fall to the level of a decade ago. Deaths in January to April 2021 have also been well above recent averages, suggesting 2021 could also look bleak for life expectancy. Moreover, the pandemic has exacerbated health inequalities, which were already widening before the pandemic. 

The pandemic is still playing out in 2021, with the timing and scale of the resurgence varying between European countries. Although Covid-19 deaths in the UK have abated by April 2021, a resurgence of the virus remains possible and many European countries are experiencing a third wave. Future trends in mortality are unpredictable, as they depend on the course of the pandemic, governmental responses to them, the roll-out and efficacy of vaccination programmes, and other unforeseeable developments such as the development of new variants of the virus. 

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Comments

abdul shakoor

Position
BAME Covid 19 Linkworker,
Organisation
Togmind
Comment date
29 July 2021

Your article shows that we need to Promote Lifestyle change, end to tobacco and more Healthy diet information then pills.

Dr. Sania Aasim

Position
Health Protection Practitioner,
Organisation
PHE
Comment date
12 June 2021

This was a very interesting article on mortality. I have noticed that the ONS data includes clinically suspected COVID deaths, along with confirmed deaths. I think it should be made clear as to what is the percentage of confirmed and unconfirmed deaths in their data to reduce discrepancy. Also it would be useful to know what are the confirmed mortality hazard ratios in the ONS data. I would also like to point out that doctors do not have access to COVID tests conducted for the general public by pillar 1 testing. This is very important because if someone did test positive recently and died, then NHS doctors would not know about it and would not be able to count it as a COVID confirmed death. This has the potential to create massive measurement errors in the entire mortality data set, and death certification.

Haley Smith

Position
Service User,
Organisation
Service user
Comment date
25 March 2021

The number of different variants is a worry - it makes many of us concerned that the new vaccines will keep everyone protected. Thank you for everything on here - it helps to be able to read facts rather than journalistic sensationalism

Anita Mackenzie

Position
Governor/patient research Champion.,
Organisation
Western Sussex hospital Trust
Comment date
16 March 2021

Thankyou for the summary. It has explained so much, and has cleared up a few outstanding questions.

Stephen Robert…

Position
Retired,
Comment date
11 January 2021

Can we have an update on how many of the 80,000 deaths have been those with no underlying health problems.

Mark Jamison

Position
Derivatives Trader / Data Scientist,
Comment date
06 January 2021

This is a valid point for an anecdotal case - there will be cases in the GOV statistics whereby an individual tests positive, recovers completely, and then subsequently dies of an unrelated cause within the 28 day window. This would cause the GOV statistics to be biased upward - which is your underlying worry.

However, this is where the ONS statistic (reported with an 11 day lag so less publicly viewed) is important. The ONS statistic uses official death certificates and records any death certificate with a COVID-19 'mention'. The argument above would hold if the ONS statistic consistently lags below the GOV reported statistic - but it doesn't. As per Fig 1 above, it is consistently *higher*.

The only reading I can make of this is that the GOV stat is not upward biased, or individual doctors across the UK lie and put COVID down as a 'mention' on official death certificates. Not only that, but doctors would need to be collaboratively lying in order to biased a nationwide statistic upward. I can't really understand why individual doctor's behaviourally have the incentive or mentality to do this, unless the assertion is that there is individual benefit to them attaching a superfluous COVID mention to a death certificate.

Ian R Lawson (…

Position
Retired geriatric physician,
Organisation
various
Comment date
01 January 2021

Your CEO's protest at the closing of the DPH activities raise questions:
Are we following the USA President's attempt to quash scientific collection of data?
And/or is it because the King's Fund is regarded as doing it, but less 'officially' and therefore more 'deniably'?
Good epidemiology is a stimulus and confronts official claims with reality. Florence Nightingale founded epidemiology; which includes, as I recall from reading her writings, counting the actual blankets received at Sevastapol vs what officialdom claimed was sent there - like actual # of vaccinations performed on people vs # of vaccines on organizations' shelves.
So, is this a matter of confronting uncomfortable data, and of dissolving a 'public health' advocacy from such facts? Then, welcome to what almost became the American way.

Candida Ridler

Position
Retired,
Comment date
26 October 2020

I am still confused about the way the deaths from covid 19 are recorded. The daily deaths from covid as announced by the media state that the number given is a record of deaths of people who tested posiive for covid within 28 days but who died for ANY REASON . An example might be that I had a very mild case of covid 28 days ago, tested positive but recovered quickly However within a 28 day period of having tested positive I died of something else not related to covid. Why does my death then get counted in as a covid death? The way the deaths are counted just causes fear mongering , draconian lockdowns and our economy to go down the drain.

Owen Skinner

Comment date
19 October 2020

Please can you clarify the true Morbidity Rate and show all mathematical workings since January 2020 until now for COVID-19. This information used to be able to find here. I don't want this week to that week in a certain age group in a certain area by Hair Colour of those born on a tuesday! Just the overall morbidity rate please.

Also can you show the chart of when COVID-19 is counted as the main reason for death and what other comorbidities were present at the time?

Sam

Comment date
19 September 2020

Because those creating the rules do not have our best interests, our health and well-being in mind. This is about control

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