Coronavirus deaths are likely to be double those the government is admitting to

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It would seem that the FT thinks I was far too cautious in my extrapolation of the excess deaths data yesterday. It suggests that:

The coronavirus pandemic has already caused as many as 41,000 deaths in the UK, according to a Financial Times analysis of the latest data from the Office for National Statistics. The estimate is more than double the official figure of 17,337 released by ministers on Tuesday, which is updated daily and only counts those who have died in hospitals after testing positive for the virus.

This chart is telling:

As is this one:

It seems impossible that the government did not know that these deaths outside hospitals were occurring and yet they chose to ignore them.

Despite this, the FT think deaths may now have plateaued. I tend to agree. But if they have, it would be at a figure of well over 1,000 a day. And unless the reinfection rate falls to below 1 there is no good reason why this will change. In that case my suggestion that the UK might still be facing hundreds of thousands of excess deaths this year stands.

But, and there is a proviso, which is this:

The ONS data also showed that the vast majority of all excess deaths were people aged over 75 years old. This age bracket accounted for 70 per cent of the total, the same proportion as those with Covid-19 on their death certificates.

This virus is not indifferent. It is not true that all are facing an equal threat from it. The more elderly in our country, and others, are at by far the most at risk from it. And that has significant social consequence. But that’s for another post.