Deaths resulting from COVID-19 infection account for only half of the number of excess deaths taking place in private homes, expert analysis of latest data suggests.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics from the seven weeks to 15 May show that more than 40 000 COVID-19 deaths have now taken place in hospitals, care homes, and private homes in England and Wales. The figures also show 14 418 excess non-covid deaths.
Although COVID-19 was mentioned on death certificates 13 500 times in care homes and private homes over the past seven weeks, some 23 500 more non-covid deaths have taken place in the community than would be expected.
Discussing the data, David Spiegelhalter, chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge, said that “as soon as the pandemic started we saw a huge immediate spike in non-covid deaths in [private] homes that occurred close to the time hospitals were minimising the service they were providing."
“Over the seven weeks up to 15 May, as the NHS focused on covid, around 8800 fewer non-covid deaths than normal occurred in hospitals.”
He added that these had not been “exported” to care homes, since fairly few care home residents normally died in hospitals. Instead, he said, it seemed that these deaths had contributed to the huge rise in extra deaths in private homes during this period.
Source: BMJ, 27 May 2020
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