The UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released new figures on coronavirus deaths in England and Wales, which include how many were registered up to 20 March – the day that pubs and clubs were ordered to shut down to help tackle the outbreak.
What’s different about the data is it looks at community deaths – people who died at home or in residential care whom doctors recorded on the death certificate as probably having Covid-19. There were 103 of these – 1% of all deaths.The ONS also trawled a few days ahead of 20 March to capture any deaths stuck in a recording backlog. That brings the total to 210 deaths involving coronavirus.
That’s 40 more than the 170 deaths announced by the government at the time – those were all hospital deaths of patients who had tested positive for coronavirus and so definitely had the infection.
In comparison, there are not enough tests to check how many people in the community are infected or how many deaths are linked to Covid-19.
So these community death figures are interesting but they don’t give us a clearer idea of the true toll.