UK coronavirus death toll could be much higher than official data: ONS

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London Ambulance staff members are seen with vehicles in the car park at the ExCeL London exhibition centre in London on April 1, 2020, which has been transformed into the NHS Nightingale Hospital to help with the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS

Fatalities in England and Wales are around 60% above the normal weekly average due to the coronavirus, according to the national statistics body, whose data also suggests that the death toll for the virus could be much higher than official figures.

The Office for National Statistics reported Tuesday that the total number of people who had died in England and Wales n the week to April 3 came in at 16,387. That’s the highest level of deaths since official weekly statistics began 15 years ago.

The ONS also said its data showed that 6,236 deaths involving the coronavirus in England and Wales had occurred this year up to April 3, and registered by April 11.

That’s 50% higher than the 4,093 deaths reported on April 4 by the U.K.’s health department. The ONS didn’t include figures for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“There is a difference in the numbers as we include all deaths where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate even if only suspected, and we include deaths that happened in hospital and in the community,” the ONS said on Twitter.

In contrast, the official U.K. coronavirus death toll only includes those that occurred in hospitals. 

The total number of deaths in U.K. hospitals now stands at 12,107, up 778 from the previous day, according to the latest government figures. The U.K. has more than 90,000 confirmed cases of the virus.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was released from a London hospital over the weekend after spending three nights in intensive care with the coronavirus.

“Things could have gone either way,” Johnson said Sunday, adding that he owed the NHS his life. He is now recovering at his country residence Chequers, while Foreign Minister Dominic Raab is currently deputizing for the prime minister.

Raab on Monday said that it was still too early to lift the U.K.’s coronavirus restrictions. The country has officially been on lockdown since March 23. Other European nations including Italy and Spain are now looking to lift some restrictions on public life as the number of new infections and daily deaths decline.

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