UK Has Highest Coronavirus Death Toll in Europe, Second Globally

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: A member of the public poses for a photo in front of Tower Bridge whilst wearing a protective mask on March 22, 2020 in London, England. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread to at least 188 countries, claiming over 13,000 lives and infecting more than 300,000 people. …
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The United Kingdom now has the highest recorded coronavirus death toll in Europe, surpassing virus hotspot Italy, and second globally only to the United States of America.

Latest data collated by Johns Hopkins University puts the UK at 29,501 deaths, ahead of Italy’s 29,351 deaths, with the U.S. having the highest number of fatalities at 71,078 as of Wednesday, May 6th.

However, the UK’s official statistics body, the Office for National Statistics (ONS), puts coronavirus deaths in England and Wales as of May 2nd at 29,710. The ONS bases this figure on the cause of death listed as coronavirus on death certificates, even if there is no confirmatory test, but doctors determine that it was likely the Chinese virus.

Different parts of the nation collect statistics at different periods, with Northern Ireland registering 393 deaths to April 29th and Scotland counting 2,272 up to April 26th, a total of 32,375 across the UK as of Wednesday, according to The Times. That is almost half of the United States’s official death toll, with the UK only having one-fifth of America’s population, and despite the UK’s strict lockdown measures.

During the Downing Street press conference on Tuesday night, First Secretary of State Dominic Raab said of the 693 new deaths on the previous day: “I don’t think we’ll get a real verdict on how well countries have done until the pandemic is over, and in particular until we’ve got comprehensive international data on all cause mortality.”

The head of Britain’s Office for National Statistics has praised the work of his colleagues, clearly pointing to a potential differential between the British figures and others around the world down to the quality of research and counting efficiency, implying other nations numbers may lag behind for reasons of accounting.

Speaking to BBC political journalist Andrew Marr, the UK’s head statistician Sir Ian Diamond said it was impossible to calculate a reliable league table because different nations counted coronavirus deaths so differently, and refused to say the UK was at the top of deaths in Europe. He said: “making international comparisons is an unbelievably difficult thing to do. We in this country, in my opinion — and I would say this, wouldn’t I — we have the best reporting, the most transparent reporting, and the most timely reporting.”

Modelling by The Times of excess deaths, however, suggests that as many as 55,700 people may have died because of the Chinese pandemic.

Italy previously had the highest number of deaths in Europe, with Spain at one point having the highest number of confirmed cases in the continent. While Italy has begun to loosen her lockdown measures, the end to the UK’s looks to be some distance off. Even with Prime Minister Boris Johnson set to outline the UK’s exit strategy on Sunday, government and independent scientists have indicated that lockdowns could be intermittent for possibly another year until a vaccine for the novel Chinese COVID-19 is developed.

However, the scientific basis for the UK’s lockdown has been put under question after the resignation of Professor Neil Ferguson, the government’s senior scientific adviser and the architect of the enforced social distancing strategy, was caught breaking his own rules clandestinely meeting his married lover.

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