London: The number of COVID-19 deaths in the UK is close to 43,000, highlighting the country ’s worst-hit country in Europe and triggering more questions about Prime Minister Boris Johnson ’s handling of the crisis.
Reuters statistics show that the new figures for England and Wales have brought the death toll to at least 42,990, including earlier data from Scotland and Northern Ireland and the number of recent hospital deaths in England.
The figures from the National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday painted a grim picture in the nursing home, in which more than one-third were infected with the new coronavirus.
As of May 8, the number of deaths in nursing homes across the UK has exceeded 10,000, although this growth has slowed in recent weeks.
A Johnson spokesperson said: “The death toll in all areas, including nursing homes, is declining … but we need to make every effort to continue to protect the most vulnerable people in our nursing homes.”
Data confirms that the UK is one of the countries hit hardest by the pandemic, which has killed more than 317,000 people worldwide.
Such a high number of deaths in the UK has increased pressure on Johnson, who said the government is following scientific advice. The opposition party said he has made slow progress in conducting tests and providing health workers with protective equipment.
In March, the UK ’s chief scientific adviser said that controlling the death toll below 20,000 would be a “good result”. Reuters reported in April that the worst case for the government was 50,000 deaths.
Unlike the daily number of deaths announced by the government, the ONS data on Tuesday included COVID-19 for suspected deaths.
Ministers do not like to make an international comparison of the number of deaths, because the performance of the United Kingdom partly reflects its rapid report on death data.
Epidemiologists use excessive mortality-all causes of death exceed seasonal averages-because it is internationally comparable. But the UK has also performed poorly in this regard.
ONS officials said that the excess death toll in the UK is now close to 55,000.