The official coronavirus death toll in England could be reduced by 10 per cent due to the flawed counting system whereby anyone who has tested positive would have their death attributed to the Chinese virus, even if they died months later of a heart attack.
Coronavirus fatalities for other countries in the nation are counted differently than in England. For example, in Scotland and Northern Ireland, a death is only ruled by cause as coronavirus if it occurs within 28 days of a positive diagnosis. The Public Health England (PHE) bureaucracy, however, has no such period of limitations. That means that, in bureaucratic terms, every one of the 265,000 people who have contracted coronavirus could have their death in the future attributed to the pandemic.
The government is going to announce the change this week, according to sources speaking to The Sun, bringing the counting in line with Scotland and Northern Ireland. Health Secretary Matt Hancock will also announce a second counting strategy that will record deaths 60 days after infection confirmation.
The tabloid estimates that the mortality figures for England could be reduced from 41,686 by 4,170 — around 10 per cent.
Professor Carl Heneghan, from Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, had recognised the over-counting last month and told The Sun that the current figures were “confusing”.
He pointed out the absurdity of the current counting system and how it fails to clarify the effect of the Chinese virus, asking if “someone who picked up the virus in a care home in March and recovered, and last week died of a heart attack, what does that actually tell us?”
He added it was a “sensible decision” to change the system, and the review would easily explain how deaths in the two Celtic countries are near zero but still higher in England.
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The Department of Health and Social Care would not confirm the report. But a spokesman told The Mirror: “The Health Secretary has asked Public Health England to conduct an urgent review into the reporting of deaths statistics, aimed at providing greater clarity on the number of fatalities related to Covid-19 as we move past the peak of the virus.”
The claims that the government could admit to miscounting by one-tenth the number of actual fatalities comes as the country continues to face coronavirus restrictions, including compulsory mask-wearing in shops and supermarkets. The United Kingdom had suffered months of lockdown and strict rules since March 23rd.
However, until June, the Conservative government operated an open-borders policy, whereby while Britons were effectively under house arrest, international visitors arrived unimpeded. This was despite almost every other country in the world applying some form of screening, quarantine, or border lockdown.
On Wednesday, a parliamentary committee released a report that criticised the government for failing to impose restrictions on entrants into the United Kingdom, claiming that 10,000 infections may have entered the country in that fashion, directly attributing to the rise in diseases.
“The decision to lift all COVID-19-related guidance for international arrivals on 13 March, just as other countries were expanding their border measures, is inexplicable,” the Home Affairs Select Committee report said.
“Evidence suggests that thousands of new infections in the UK resulted from cases arriving from Europe in the ten days between this decision and the introduction of lockdown on 23 March. The failure to have any special border measures during this period was a serious mistake that significantly increased both the pace and the scale of the epidemic in the UK, and meant that many more people caught COVID-19,” MPs added.
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