The United Kingdom has experienced the highest daily number of coronavirus deaths recorded – 854 – a figure that is beginning to approach the toll on the deadliest days so far in Italy and Spain.
NHS England reported Tuesday that another 758 people tested positive for the virus had died in its hospitals, while the total was announced as 74 for Scotland, 19 in Wales and three in Northern Ireland.
The data are likely to raise concerns about the development of the epidemic in the UK compared to the countries most affected by Europe in the pandemic.
Italy, which registered the most coronavirus-related deaths globally, registered 971 deaths in its highest number on March 28, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
In Spain, which has the second highest rate worldwide, 950 deaths were recorded on the deadliest day of April 3.
Four British trusts recorded over 150 deaths each: University Hospitals Birmingham (263); London North West University healthcare (183); King’s College College (163) and Royal Free London (151).
The youngest victim reported by the NHS in England was 23 years old – one of 29 patients to die with no known underlying health conditions. The vast majority of patients (96%) had pre-existing conditions.
The Department of Health and Welfare, which collects data differently than regional agencies, subsequently published a daily figure of 786 deaths in UK hospitals.
The death toll in the UK does not include community-registered deaths and weeks may pass before the real numbers are known.
New data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicate that deaths in the community are also on the rise.
There were 539 registered deaths in which Covid-19 was mentioned in the week up to March 27, or 4.8% of all deaths registered in England and Wales. This figure compares with 103 deaths, or 1% of all deaths, the previous week. There were five deaths registered in the week until March 13th. This brings the total number of coronavirus deaths recorded by March 27 to 647.
However, delays in recording deaths, collected by the ONS, can take weeks before there is clear evidence of how many people have died in the community. These deaths will also include those suspected of having Covid-19 in hospital at the time of death, but have not been tested and included in the NHS England figures.
Detailed demographic analyzes for the 647 deaths show that, in line with initial studies conducted internationally, men are more likely than women to die from the virus. Men make up 61% of Covid-19-related deaths to date.
The figures also indicate that the disease is more dangerous for older people. More than two thirds (69%) of the deaths occurred among those aged 75 and over.
The figures do not represent a homogeneous comparison with the data released by the ONS on March 31st.
The discrepancies in reporting deaths can be partially explained by some key differences between the ONS and NHS methodologies. The ONS counts every mention of Covid-19 on death certificates, regardless of whether it was the underlying cause. Since it takes a few days to register a death, there may be delays in reporting this data.
NHS figures are reported daily by every trust in England and include only deaths that occurred in a hospital and underwent testing. These are more up to date than ONS data, but can still include delays of up to a month. A Guardian analysis published last week found that revised SSN data for a single day are often significantly higher than originally reported.
Sarah Caul, mortality officer at the ONS, said in a blog post: “The numbers produced by ONS are much slower to prepare, because they must be certified by a doctor, registered and processed. But once ready, it’s the most accurate and complete information.
“Using the full death certificate allows us to analyze a lot of information, such as what other health conditions contributed to the death. We will start publishing more detailed analyzes of the figures as soon as possible. “
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