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‘Excess deaths’ in England among the highest in Europe

Published on 27/04/20 at 10:51am
Photo by US Department of Defense

English excess deaths from the coronavirus are comparable to the worst hit countries in Europe, according to a Sky News analysis.

Excess deaths are those that are not necessarily caused by the pandemic but are likely to be related.

Sky News carried out as assessment of excess death figures tracked by EuroMOMO which receives weekly official figures from 24 countries. Its analysis of these figures suggests that 57,191 more people than expected died across the countries monitored between the beginning of March and the middle of April. In total, 376,876 people died over those six weeks, up 18% from the 319,686 deaths expected.

It also showed that England, Spain and Italy are the countries with the biggest peaks in excess deaths. Deaths in England were the highest in Europe between 30 March and 12 April, and unlike Spain and Italy this was not followed by a significant decline.

These recent figures follow a Financial Times (FT) analysis that speculates that the actual fatalities in the UK from coronavirus were being drastically under reported. Last week, the government stated that there had been 17,000 deaths overall from COVID-19, but an analysis of data put out by the Office for National Statistics by FT put this number closer to 41,000. This figure included deaths that occurred outside hospitals, updated to reflect recent mortality trends.

Most concerning for England and the wider UK, is that countries with larger populations and with more cases, like Germany, have significantly fewer deaths from the virus. This has prompted widespread condemnation of the British government’s handling of the crisis as many want answers to how the UK has managed to suffer so many more deaths.

Conor Kavanagh

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