This is my weekly reminder of the true level of deaths in the UK from covid-19, based on figures from the Office of National Statistics. The number of deaths in England and Wales continues to be about twice the average for this time of year.
This week I’ve shown three lines in the graph above. The grey (middle) line shows the average number of deaths for each week, averaged over the last five years. The blue (upper) line shows the number of deaths this year, and the green (lower) line shows the difference.
Since the outbreak began, there were about 38,500 excess deaths up until 24 April. Adding 10% for Scotland and NI brings this to about 42,400. The cumulative number of covid-19 deaths reported on that date was 23,635. The actual number of deaths was therefore about 80% higher than reported.
Comparing the reported UK deaths per 10 million population against other major Western countries, we’re not quite the worst. Spain (green) and Belgium (upper grey) are worse. UK (blue) is roughly comparable to Italy (red). Taiwan, South Korea and Australia, all shown at the bottom in grey, show what could have been achieved.
Of course UK figures will eventually be revised and will turn out to be worse, as the ONS graph makes clear. The same could also be true of some of the comparison nations shown here. What is unlikely to change however, is the clear difference between the best and worst handling of the pandemic.