London: The United Kingdom suffered the worst coronavirus outbreak in Europe, but a new study shows that health authorities have overestimated the number of casualties, including those recovering after death.
More than 45,000 deaths have been recorded in patients with positive coronavirus tests, and this grim figure has led to accusations that the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has resisted its response.
However, an article published by the Evidence-Based Medicine Center on Thursday revealed statistical anomalies in the data collected by the Public Health Agency in England.
Authors Yoon K Loke and Carl Heneghan pointed out that each time a patient dies, the central register of the state-owned National Health Service (NHS) is notified.
They said that when the British Public Health (PHE) compiled daily coronavirus charges, it only checked the list of confirmed cases in the laboratory to see if they were still alive.
“A patient who has tested positive, but successfully treated and discharged from hospital, will still be counted as a COVID death even if they had a heart attack or were run over by a bus three months later,” they write.
They suggest this could explain variations in the English daily toll, and why deaths there have not fallen in the same way they have in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which collect their own data.
Under this approach, “no one with COVID in England is allowed to ever recover from their illness”, the article says — and the ultimate death toll will include every one of the 292,000 people who has had the virus.
“It’s time to fix this statistical flaw that leads to an over-exaggeration of COVID-associated deaths,” it says.
“One reasonable approach would be to define community COVID-related deaths as those that occurred within 21 days of a COVID positive test result.”
However, the daily corona virus charge is only a measure of the number of deaths, and it is known to have limitations because it does not include people who cannot be tested for viruses.
Some analysts believe that the so-called “excess death” figures are the best way to evaluate real figures.
The National Bureau of Statistics said that in the year ending July 3, the number of deaths in England and Wales was 54,000 higher than the five-year average for the period.