Coronavirus victim toll could be higher in UK: Hundreds of care home deaths not included in official report

  • Death toll published by the UK's Department of Health and Social Care only includes reported deaths in NHS hospitals

  • Care leaders and unions are demanding immediate action to deliver more testing and PPE to care homes to asses accurate Coronavirus cases

The global Coronavirus pandemic which started as an outbreak in China almost 100 days ago has affected all the continents including countries like the UK, US, Italy and Spain. Recently the UK noticed a surge in the Coronavirus infection cases and country's Prime Minister Boris Johnson also admitted in the intensive care unit after his Coronavirus symptoms worsened on Tuesday, April 7.

While the UK officially reported 65,872 COVID-19 cases and 7,993 fatalities, reports revealed that the death could be higher as hundreds of people who are dying in care homes from confirmed or suspected Coronavirus infection, are not included in the overall tally.

UK Coronavirus cases

The country is currently is worried about their Prime Minister's health who was in the intensive care unit and currently under observation in London's St Thomas' Hospital. But the real concern is the recent surge in infection cases in the UK.

Recently The Guardian reported that more than 120 people in the UK's largest charitable provider of care homes are thought to have died from the COVID-19 in past three weeks. Meanwhile, another network of care homes is reported to have recorded 88 deaths. As per the Office for National Statistics, 20 people died in care homes across England and Wales in the week to 27 March.

Several care home workers said that they still lack adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing for Coronavirus. The care industry and UK's Alzheimer's Society that is responsible for look after around 400,000 people believe that the COVID-19 is now active in around half of the care settings.

The new revelation suggests that UK ministers have underestimated the impact of the COVID-19 and they are failing to provide help to the care homes and the workers. Prof Chris Whitty, the UK government's chief medical officer recently claimed that just over nine percent of care homes had cases of Coronavirus. It should be mentioned that the daily death toll published by the UK's Department of Health and Social Care only includes reported deaths in NHS England hospitals.

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Representational picture REUTERS

The negligence would cost most lives in UK

Operated by UK's largest charitable provider of care homes, MHA, around 70 percent of the residents at one Yorkshire care home for people with dementia are believed have been infected by the deadly virus. As per the reports, 13 people have died in another of MHA's Yorkshire care homes and 11 have died in a home in Northamptonshire.

Another care home in Luton revealed that 15 residents had died during the Coronavirus outbreak which also includes five people who tested positive for COVID-19. In Scotland, another care home reported 30 deaths earlier this week.

Underestimating Coronavirus pandemic

As per Jason Oke, a senior statistician at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences in Oxford, these numbers of death cases in care homes indicated a result of underestimating the Coronavirus pandemic. He said, but the "worry is that we discover in six months that the numbers are way larger because no one was counting what was happening in care homes."

It is possible that the virus is spreading rapidly through homes, especially among dementia patients and understanding the threat, the care leaders and unions are demanding immediate action to deliver more testing and PPE.

Related topics : Coronavirus