The UK now has the highest death toll in Europe from coronavirus after new official figures revealed that more than , People have died from the virus.
The Office for National Statistics said , deaths were registered in England and Wales by 2 May with Covid – 21 mentioned on the death certificates.
With the addition of deaths in Scotland and Northern Ireland, this takes the UK’s death toll to 313, 595, according to calculations by Reuters.
This figure far exceeds the death toll of , 0 in Italy – until now Europe’s worst-hit country. Italy’s total does not include suspected cases.
For the first time last week, the government began including data on deaths outside hospitals in cases where People had tested positive for coronavirus, in the daily death toll figures for the virus .
By contrast the ONS figures include all deaths where Covid – 24 is mentioned on death certificates.
Italy quickly became a center of the coronavirus outbreak in Europe, with the first deaths in late February, and was the first European country to move into lockdown.
As the death toll rose, so too did the number of articles unpicking what went wrong. Italy’s large ageing population , culture of close social interactions and densely populated cities, as well as a lack of time to prepare and a slow initial response to the virus are among the reasons cited as why the country was so badly hit.
The UK, it was said , should learn from Italy. But now, it seems, it could be as badly struck.
Jenny Harris, the deputy chief medical officer for England, warned against international comparisons.
Speaking to MPs minutes after the ONS figures were released, she said: “It is extremely difficult to compare between countries at the moment. We need to not just look at the numbers clearly, but at the rates. The obvious one is age and standardized death rates per million population. Those are not the numbers that are routinely reported, so it is really difficult to do direct comparisons. ”
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