Coronavirus National & International

Health Secretary calls for urgent review into coronavirus death numbers in England

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According to BBC, England’s Health Secretary, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has called for an urgent review into how coronavirus deaths have been recorded in England after emerged that Public Health England (PHE) has “over-exaggerated” the figures.

This follows confirmation from Public Health England that reported deaths may have included people who tested positive months before they had died. Currently, the daily death reports on the website have been halted as a result of the investigation and will be revived when findings are concluded.

Prof Carl Heneghan from University of Oxford who spotted the data said; “While NHS England currently reports 30-35 deaths per day, Public Health England (PHE) data often shows double that or more”

The reason is that anyone who has tested positive for coronavirus but then died at a later date of another cause would still be included in PHE’s Covid-19 death figures. He added; “By this PHE definition, no one with Covid in England is allowed to ever recover from their illness, we need correct and accurate statistics so we can really understand the trend – otherwise it’s very difficult to know what’s going on”

In response, Dr Susan Hopkins from Public Health England said; “in England, we count all those that have died who had a positive Covid-19 test at any point, to ensure our data is as complete as possible.” She added; “We must remember that this is a new and emerging infection and there is increasing evidence of long-term health problems for some of those affected.”

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