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Important differences in counting UK Covid-19 deaths

The figures published on GOV.UK may give an indication of what is happening day by day in Britain, but the limitations of the data should be understood.

Published: April 2, 2020, 9:06 am

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    These figures do not necessarily include all deaths involving Covid-19, such as those not in a hospital, suggesting that Covid-19 is not a “common flu”.

    Numbers produced by The Office for National Statistics (ONS) are much slower to prepare, because they have to be certified by a doctor, registered and processed. But once ready, they are the most accurate and complete information on the pandemic.

    Using the complete death certificate allows researchers to analyse the information, such as what other health conditions contributed to the death.

    It takes at least five days for most deaths to be certified by a doctor, registered and the data processed. The ONS figures therefore are always slightly out of date.

    A record of 563 people in the UK have died after testing positive – by far the biggest rise during the crisis. The death toll has soared by 1 124 in just 3 days – from 1 228 on Sunday to 2 352 on Wednesday.

    More than 1,7 million people in the UK have been infected, suggests new data posted by the National Health Service (NHS) on NHS Digital.

    Britain now has almost three times as many dead patients as Germany despite only half as many positive cases.

    Germany has been able to test for the virus on a far greater scale than the rest of Europe.

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