Coronavirus death toll in UK passes 40,000, latest figures show


The UK’s coronavirus death toll has passed 40,000, according to new data.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Tuesday showed that 35,044 deaths involving COVID-19 took place in England and Wales up to 1 May.

When added with the latest figures from Scotland and Northern Ireland, at least 38,355 deaths were registered in the UK by 6 May where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, which includes suspected cases.

More than 1,678 patients in England who tested positive for coronavirus died between 2 and 10 May, bringing the total to more than 40,000.

A medical worker takes a swab at a drive-in coronavirus testing facility at the Chessington World of Adventures Resort in south west London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Testing continues to be carried out as the death toll rises in the latest data. (PA Images)

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It means the country continues to have the highest official death toll in Europe, ahead of Italy’s count of 30,739, though the latter’s statistics have been questioned.

Nick Stripe, head of health analysis at the ONS, told BBC News: “Care homes are showing the slowest decline (in reported deaths), sadly, whereas hospital deaths we are now about 40% above average what we’d expect to see at this time of year and in private homes we’re about 90% above average, not many of those mention COVID (on the death certificate).

“In care homes, we’re still over three times above the average for what we’d expect to see at this time of year.”

ONS data shows how much higher the number of deaths related to COVID-19 are than initial government figures reported.

The ONS has recorded 33,337 deaths involving coronavirus happening in England up to 1 May.

In that same period, the Department of Health reported 25,282 COVID-19 deaths in England, meaning the new data shows a 31.8% rise on previous figures.

Separate to the ONS figures calculated above is the government’s running toll. It is lower than the ONS figures due to differences in counting, and stood at 32,065 deaths, as reported on Monday, and 223,060 cases have been confirmed.

NHS England, which records hospital deaths, confirmed on Tuesday that it has recorded 23,709 deaths in English hospitals so far. 53% were people aged over 80, while 39% were aged 60-79.

The ONS data comes a day before elements of the UK’s lockdown are set to be relaxed slightly, with people allowed to head out for unlimited amounts of exercise and able to meet one person from outside their household outdoors, provided they maintain social distancing, from Wednesday.

The government could reopen classes for some school age groups in June and bars and restaurants may be able to welcome back customers from July.

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