Coronavirus: UK death toll passes Italy to be highest in Europe

The figure of 29,427 deaths is "a massive tragedy", the foreign secretary says, but steers clear of comparisons.

"I don’t think you can make the international comparisons you're suggesting at this stage" - Dominic Raab

The UK now has the highest number of coronavirus deaths in Europe, according to the latest government figures.

There have been 29,427 deaths recorded across the UK - a figure Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said was "a massive tragedy".

The latest total for Italy, previously the highest in Europe, now stands at 29,315.

But experts say it could be months before full global comparisons can be made.

Both Italy and the UK record the deaths of people who have tested positive for coronavirus. 

BBC head of statistics Robert Cuffe said Britain reached this figure faster in its epidemic than Italy.

But he said there are caveats in making such a comparison, including the UK population being about 10% larger than Italy's.

Each country also has different testing regimes, with Italy conducting more tests than the UK to date.

Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing, Mr Raab said the 29,427 lives lost was "a massive tragedy" the country has "never seen before... on this scale, in this way".

But he would not be drawn on international comparisons, saying: "I don't think we will get a real verdict on how well countries have done until the pandemic is over, and particularly until we get comprehensive international data on all-cause mortality."

Prof Sir David Spiegelhalter, of the University of Cambridge, said we can be "certain" that all reported figures are "substantial underestimates" of the true number who have died with the virus.

He said: "We can safely say that none of these countries are doing well, but this is not Eurovision and it is pointless to try and rank them."

He added the "only sensible comparison is by looking at excess all-cause mortality, adjusted for the age distribution of the country" [but] "even then it will be very difficult to ascribe the reasons for any differences."

This is a sobering moment. Italy was the first part of Europe to see cases rise rapidly, and the scenes of hospitals being overwhelmed were met with shock and disbelief.

But we should be careful how we interpret the figures.

On the face of it, both countries now count deaths in a similar way, including both in hospitals and the community.

But there are other factors to consider.

First, the UK has a slightly larger population. If you count cases per head of population, Italy still comes out worse - although only just.

Cases are confirmed by tests - and the amount of testing carried out varies.

 

The geographical spread looks quite different too - half of the deaths in Italy have happened in Lombardy.

In the UK, by comparison, they have been much more spread out. Less than a fifth have happened in London, which has a similar population to Lombardy.

Then, how do you factor in the indirect impact from things such as people not getting care for other conditions?

The fairest way to judge the impact in terms of fatalities is to look at excess mortality - the numbers dying above what would normally happen.

You need to do this over time. It will be months, perhaps even years, before we can really say who has the highest death toll.

Meanwhile, the personal stories of those who have died are still emerging. They include three members of the same family who died within weeks of each other after contracting the virus.

Keith Dunnington, 54, a nurse for more than 30 years, died at his parents home in South Shields on 19 April. His mother Lillian, 81, died on 1 May and her husband Maurice, 85, died days later.

Meanwhile, Momudou Dibba, a house-keeper at Watford Hospital who went "above and beyond" in his job, died with the virus on 29 April.

In a statement, West Hertfordshire NHS Trust said Mr Dibba, known as Mo, was "kind, caring and considerate".

Meanwhile, 14 people from the same care home in Northern Ireland have died from Covid-19 related symptoms.

There have now been 1,383,842 tests for coronavirus across the UK, including 84,806 tests yesterday, Mr Raab told the No 10 briefing.

For the third day in a row, the government has failed to hit its target of 100,000 daily tests.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock set the target at the beginning of April and the government announced on Friday and Saturday that it had hit the 100,000-plus mark.

Death certificates

Separately, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published data on Tuesday showing that by 24 April there were 27,300 deaths where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate.

Including deaths reported to the ONS since 24 April, it brings the total number to more than 32,000.

These figures can also include cases where a doctor suspects the individual was infected, but a test was not carried out - whereas the daily government figures rely on confirmed cases.

In other developments:

  • Prof Neil Ferguson, whose advice to the prime minister led to the UK lockdown, has quit as a government adviser on coronavirus after admitting an "error of judgement" and "undermining" the messages on social distancing.
  • Fewer than 300 people arriving in the UK from overseas were quarantined as the virus spread around the globe at the start of the year, Home Office figures have revealed
  • Cyber-security agencies in the UK and US have issued a joint warning to healthcare and medical research staff, urging them to improve their password security, after cyber-criminals have been targeting healthcare bodies, particularly those involved in coronavirus response
  • A further 366 people with coronavirus died in English hospitals, a further 44 patients have died with coronavirus in Scotland and 26 more people have died in Wales
  • Virgin Atlantic will cut a third of its staff in the UK and keep its operation at Gatwick closed as it responds to the pandemic
  • MPs hear that scientific evidence around the usefulness of face masks is "not straightforward" but their use could help prevent spread
  • BBC

 
 

Other News

.
Shopping online has a high price-tag
Shopping online has a high price-tag
SOCIETYicon  13/10/2020 

The restrictions that resulted from the outbreak of COVID-19 saw keen online shopper Hoang Lan Phuong, a 32-year-old official in Hanoi, buy even more than usual with just a few taps on her phone.

University's high standards cause a shock
University's high standards cause a shock
SOCIETYicon  12/10/2020 

Universities across the country on Sunday afternoon began publishing their benchmark score from high school exams for new entrants.

Vietnamese consume double recommended salt intake level daily: health official
Vietnamese consume double recommended salt intake level daily: health official
SOCIETYicon  13/10/2020 

Tran Quoc Bao, head of the Non-communicable Diseases Control Division under the Ministry of Health's General Department of Preventive Medicine, talks to local media on the health risks of eating too much salt.

VIETNAM NEWS 12/10
VIETNAM NEWS 12/10
SOCIETYicon  12/10/2020 

Ho Chi Minh City Ao Dai Festival opens

Mekong Delta farmers hit hard by late floods
Mekong Delta farmers hit hard by late floods
SOCIETYicon  12/10/2020 

The current water level on the upstream rivers in the Mekong Delta is very low at present, affecting the livelihood of local residents.

The capital's new look on the banks of the Red River
The capital's new look on the banks of the Red River
SOCIETYicon  12/10/2020 

The construction of billion-USD dollar infrastructure projects will spur growth on the two sides of the Red River, promising to create a miracle for Hanoi’s real estate market in the coming time.

Hanoi now and then through photos
Hanoi now and then through photos
SOCIETYicon  12/10/2020 

Hanoi has changed remarkably, comprehensively through ups and downs and developed in all aspects. The capital has become the largest economic and cultural hub of the country.

Hanoi strives to become smart and creative city
Hanoi strives to become smart and creative city
SOCIETYicon  12/10/2020 

Going back in time to October 10, 1954, thousands of local residents flocked to Hanoi’s streets with flags and flowers to welcome and congratulate Vietnamese soldiers for taking over the capital from French troops.

Rehab home for children with cerebral palsy in Ninh Binh
Rehab home for children with cerebral palsy in Ninh Binh
SOCIETYicon  13/10/2020 

In the northern province of Ninh Binh, there is a special home for children suffering from cerebral palsy where they receive intensive care and assistance to fight the disease and integrate into the community.

HCM City spells out quarantine rules for arriving foreigners
HCM City spells out quarantine rules for arriving foreigners
SOCIETYicon  11/10/2020 

Foreign managers, investors and highly skilled workers coming to work in the provinces of Tay Ninh, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Dong Nai, Long An, and Tien Giang will be taken there for quarantine when they land at HCM City airport.

Two more imported COVID-19 cases reported, bringing VN's tally to 1,109
Two more imported COVID-19 cases reported, bringing VN's tally to 1,109
SOCIETYicon  11/10/2020 

Vietnam recorded two new imported COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the country’s total caseload to 1,109, as today marks the 39th day without locally acquired infections.

1010th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi marked
1010th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi marked
SOCIETYicon  11/10/2020 

A ceremony marking the 1010th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi was held at the Ly Thai To Garden in downtown Hanoi on October 10 evening.

Another section of Hanoi Ring Road No 3 opens to traffic
Another section of Hanoi Ring Road No 3 opens to traffic
SOCIETYicon  11/10/2020 

The Mai Dich - South Thang Long Section of Hanoi’s Ring Road No 3, using ODA loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), was officially opened to traffic on October 11 after two years and four months of construction.

PM lauds role models in mass mobilisation
PM lauds role models in mass mobilisation
SOCIETYicon  11/10/2020 

The PM made the statement while receiving 203 role models in mass mobilisation from localities across the nation on October 10. The youngest is 26 years old, while the oldest is 78.

Nearly 180 Vietnamese citizens brought home from Brunei
Nearly 180 Vietnamese citizens brought home from Brunei
SOCIETYicon  11/10/2020 

Nearly 180 Vietnamese citizens were flown home safely on October 11 thanks to joint efforts by Vietnamese authorities, the Vietnamese Embassy in Brunei, Lilama company and budget carrier Vietjet.

Coast Guard Region 3: Building the "Revolutionary, Regular, Elite, Modern" Coast Guard forces
Coast Guard Region 3: Building the "Revolutionary, Regular, Elite, Modern" Coast Guard forces
SOCIETYicon  04/07/2020 

Focusing on training to master and efficiently use weapons, technical equipment, newly equipped modern and professional support tools; increasing the ability to use foreign languages, especially English and Indonesian.

Training on tactics and gun and artillery shooting at sea in 2020
Training on tactics and gun and artillery shooting at sea in 2020
SOCIETYicon  14/06/2020 

The results of the training and test course on the tactics and gun and artillery shooting at sea in 2020 of the High Command of the Vietnam Coast Guard Region 1 have achieved more progress than the previous years.

Criteria for appointing Coast Guard officers and scouts
Criteria for appointing Coast Guard officers and scouts
SOCIETYicon  04/03/2020 

Circular 177/2019/TT-BQP regulates the standards, conditions, order and procedures for appointment, dismissal, and the certification of the Vietnam Coast Guard’s officers and scouts.

Tropical depression forecast to strengthen into storm
Tropical depression forecast to strengthen into storm
SOCIETYicon  11/10/2020 

A tropical depression centered some 550 kilometers off Quang Nam Province and some 470 kilometers from Binh Dinh Province at 1 p.m. today, October 10 is forecast to strengthen into a storm heading toward central Vietnam in the next 12 hours.

Police arrest Vietnamese people trafficking ‘king pin’
Police arrest Vietnamese people trafficking ‘king pin’
SOCIETYicon  11/10/2020 

A Vietnamese man thought to be a major people trafficker has been arrested in the United Kingdom.

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN