May 6, 2020
After flip-flopping a handful of times over the past few weeks, it looks like the UK has finally cemented its status as the deadliest outbreak in Europe, with the UK death toll topping 32,000 on Monday, placing it decidedly above Italy’s 29,079, even though Italy still has confirmed more cases overall, according to a tally kept by Reuters.
Reuters reports that the milestone will probably “increase the political pressure on Boris Johnson”, who has been consistently blamed for not acting sooner to impose a countrywide lockdown, a decision he made at the behest of the government’s top viral experts, as Reuters’ own reporting readily confirmed early last month.
The difference-maker that finally put the UK over the top was a report from the UK national statistics office which found another 7,000 deaths in England and Wales since the beginning of the outbreak, as HMG pledges to account for ‘every death’ caused by the virus. The UK’s most recent death toll was 32,313.
This policy will almost certainly guarantee that the UK will emerge as the death-toll leader in Europe, heaping even more pressure on Johnson, who is still enjoying something of a bump in the polls from his hospital stint.
Notably, the new figures haven’t yet been reflected in the Johns Hopkins data, though that should change as the data are updated.
The political opposition in the UK – which is still processing the results of a snap election held late last year that delivered a surprisingly large majority for Johnson and his conservatives – has repeatedly bashed Johnson for waiting until hospitals were being overrun in Italy before he started closing schools and businesses. They also say his government was too slow to introduce mass testing and provide enough protective equipment to hospitals, issues we now know were in part due to China’s hoarding.
Even as the UK works to account for every death, calculations run by the FT and WaPo seeking to examine total “excess” deaths and comparing them to the number of confirmed coronavirus deaths in a search for discrepancies, the Office of National Statistics said 33,593 more people had died than average up to April 24 in England and Wales, compared to 27,365 cases in which coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificates, which means there are likely still more deaths in the UK that will be added to the total en masse.
This article was posted: Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at 3:24 am