A summary of how coronavirus death rates in the UK were calculated showed that the total number of victims from the virus was very high. Following the review, the UK Government announced that the total number of deaths from the virus was 41,329 as of 12 August. The previous figure was 46,706, which means a 12 percent drop in total deaths.
The UK Government has now introduced a different method for calculating COVID-19 deaths as a result of the review findings.
The new definition of a coronavirus death is someone who dies 28 days after a positive diagnosis.
The new measure brings England calculations in line with other UK countries.
Previously, the UK was counting every death that occurred after a positive diagnosis as a COVID-19 death, regardless of the cause.
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Professor John Newton, director of health improvement at Public Health England, defended the original method of calculating deaths.
He said: “The way we count deaths in people with COVID-19 in England was originally chosen to avoid underestimating the deaths caused by the virus in the early stages of the pandemic.”
Now the new method of calculating deaths would provide “essential information about the latest trends and the overall burden of mortality due to COVID-19”.
PHE has also argued that there is no simple way to calculate coronavirus deaths.
Prof. Keith Neal, renowned professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Nottingham, hailed the two new measures as “sensitive”.
He added: “28 days is widely used in many countries and England is now the same as the rest of the UK.
“The previous measure of always being a COVID death, even if cured, was unscientific.
“As COVID deaths fall, the number of recovered patients, especially those very elderly and those with severe underlying conditions, now die from these conditions and not COVID-19.”
Prof Neal went on to say that non-coronavirus deaths in survivors would have become a larger statistic in English deaths, and was “essentially useless for epidemiological monitoring”.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock ordered the review of additional deaths last month.
Data analysis in England found that 96 per cent of deaths occurred within 60 days or had COVID-19 on the death certificate.
Within 28 days, 88 percent of virus deaths occurred.
Overall, the UK has seen a total of 315,564 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.