Jamie Jenkins, a former employee of the Office of National Statistics, has put together his own assessment of the situation – and it makes for grim reading. Officially, the number of people in the UK who have died with coronavirus now stands at 28,131 after the figure increased by 621 as of yesterday.
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The Government last week changed its methodology for calculating the tally last week by widening its definition to include deaths in all settings, including care homes, as opposed to hospitals.
However, Mr Jenkins believes the figures do not tell the true picture.
Yesterday he took to Twitter to share his own analysis prior to the Government’s latest update, commenting: “Up to the 01 May 2020, estimate 47,200 deaths related to the #CovidUK pandemic in Great Britain.
“This done by adjusting for deaths in the community and excess deaths related to the COVID-19 pandemic but not necessarily recorded as such.”
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Does the ‘improved’ estimate go far enough? I think the simple answer is no
Mr Jenkins, who has also worked for the BBC, previously set out his ideas in more detail in a blog written for The Spectator yesterday.
He wrote: “Does the ‘improved’ estimate go far enough? I think the simple answer is no.
“The mortality data is rising at a rate that suggests many more are dying who have not been tested.
“As of Wednesday 29 April, my figure is 45,290 deaths linked to COVID-19 in Great Britain.
“This is far higher than the 26,097 issued by the Government that day.”
The ONS, he explained, publishes the total number of weekly deaths every Tuesday, and since the start of the pandemic, has included how many involve COVID-19 by looking at the death certificate, meaning the tally daily includes deaths identified over the course of the 24 hours, irrespective of when they happened.
He added: “The ONS tells us the total number of deaths related to COVID-19 and the day they occur, so you can deduce how many deaths are missed from just focusing on hospitals.
“I have taken data from 13 to 17 April 2020 and adjusted for deaths on those days not yet included using data from previous weeks.
“I compared this to hospital data and estimate deaths in the community (at the moment) are equivalent to those in hospitals.
“The assumption for my estimate is that total COVID-19 related deaths are double the daily hospital figures.
“This is in line with information from the National Records of Scotland issued on 29 April 2020, where deaths in the community were slightly more than double those in hospital for the latest Scottish data.”
Mr Jenkins said the latest ONS data suggested COVID-19 may account for between 80 and 90 percent of extra deaths.
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The remainder was likely to include people who had COVID-19 but who were not tested, as well as those not seeking help for a medical condition because they were frightened attending hospital.
He explained: “On the flip side, there may be fewer deaths for some causes because of the lockdown – fewer road accidents for example.
“But if you take all causes of death, those above average we can assume may not have occurred without the pandemic – or the associated measures taken by government in response to the pandemic.”
Mr Jenkins therefore estimated the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in England and Wales to be roughly 42,300 as of April 29.
With respect to Scotland, he put the figure at 2,980, resulting in his 45,290 figure for Great Britain – although not including Northern Ireland – with the number increasing to roughly 47,200 two days later.
Looking further ahead, Mr Jenkins yesterday tweeted: “Good news – we are past the peak in weekly deaths. Not so good news – I think we will continue with total deaths above the usual 9,700 per week average for the foreseeable future. Currently estimate around 47,200 deaths related to the #Covid19UK pandemic in Great Britain.”
This morning he added: “I have tweeted lots on the numbers of people dying related to the current #Covid19UK situation.
“Stats help us understand societal impacts but on this Sunday morning let’s not forget every single death is more than a number & they represent a life lost and a family tragedy.”
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