The UK death toll increased by four times the amount that was reported by Matt Hancock at the daily press briefing on Monday.
Owing to “statistical housekeeping” on behalf of the government, they have been able to report figures that paint a much rosier picture of the current situation in the UK.
The health secretary announced that there were just 111 fatalities, leading to tweets such as this:
111 fatalities reported vs 121, 160, 210, 288, 338, 559, 744 on previous Mondays. The lowest figure since lockdown began.— Professor Karol Sikora (@ProfKarolSikora) June 1, 2020
1570 new cases, the lowest number since the end of March.
Hospital admissions continue to fall.
Everything is going in the right direction.
When in fact 445 deaths were subsequently added, largely owing to cases which had been identified through commercial partners rather than by NHS and Public Health England laboratories.
Just filed this to the PA wire about another bit of statistical ‘housekeeping’ by the government. pic.twitter.com/x8mplUNsDd— Ian Jones (@ian_a_jones) June 1, 2020
The new cumulative total of 39,045 deaths, announced on June 1, now includes cases identified under “Pillar 2” of the Government’s testing strategy.
We take a look at how it works:
– Which deaths are included in the new reporting process?
The additional deaths are linked to cases identified through testing carried out by commercial partners, rather than testing that has been done in NHS and Public Health England (PHE) laboratories.
These tests would have been undertaken in care homes or in the community, rather than in a hospital setting, and are available for the wider population, as opposed to just key workers.
– Who were the additional 445 deaths?
Public Health England (PHE) said “nearly all” of the 445 deaths, which date back to April 26, were care home residents.
The deaths were previously categorised as “probable” coronavirus cases, but have now been redefined as “confirmed” cases, PHE said.
They occurred over a month-long period and do not represent a new “surge” in the number of deaths, PHE added.
Instead, the 445 deaths were added to the historic data retrospectively.
– Why was this data not published sooner?
PHE said collating data from across the various sources is “technically difficult and challenging”, adding it is not possible to get daily death counts from every care home and residence in the country.
It said the data quality from Pillar 2 testing had improved sufficiently to allow it to trace individual deaths and integrate them into routine reporting.
– How does PHE record the number of deaths?
The number of people who have died with coronavirus is reported daily by the Government using PHE data.
PHE combines data from four different sources: Deaths occurring in hospitals, deaths notified to PHE health protection teams, laboratory test reports linked to deaths from electronic hospital records and Office for National Statistics (ONS) death registrations which can be linked to laboratory-confirmed positive tests.
The data, which goes back to March 2, does not include deaths in people where Covid-19 was suspected, but a laboratory test was not carried out.