The United Kingdom’s total COVID-19 death toll now exceeds 40,000, by far the worst yet reported in Europe, new data showed on Tuesday, raising more questions about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s handling of the Corona-virus crisis.
Figures published by the Office for National Statistics for England and Wales brought the United Kingdom’s official death toll to 38,289 as of May 3, according to a Reuters tally of death registrations that also includes Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Since then, at least 2,251 people have died from COVID-19 in English hospitals, according to the latest daily data, bringing the true death toll as of Tuesday to just over 40,000.
While different ways of counting make comparisons with other countries difficult, the figure confirmed Britain was among those hit worst by a pandemic that has killed more than 285,000 people worldwide.
The data came a day after Johnson set out a gradual plan to get Britain back to work, including advice on wearing homemade face coverings – though his attempt to lift the Corona-virus lock down prompted confusion.
At least 20,000 people have died in care homes in England and Wales as a consequence of the Corona-virus pandemic, according to Reuters calculations based on official data.
Based on a comparison of the average of weekly deaths in nursing homes in the same period over five years, Reuters calculated that excess deaths have totaled over 19,900 in England and Wales.
The new total excludes hundreds of further deaths in Scotland and deaths that occurred since May 1. Other care home residents were transferred to hospital and died there. These are also not included in this figure.
The leaders of the devolved nations – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – said that advice given by Johnson only applied to England. They told people to stay at home still.
Such a high UK death toll increases the pressure on Johnson. Opposition parties say he was too slow to impose a lock down, too slow to introduce mass testing and too slow to get enough protective equipment to hospitals.
World-leading disease data analysts have projected that the UK will become the country worst hit by the Corona-virus pandemic in Europe, accounting for more than 40% of total deaths across the continent.
Reuters / ABC Flash Point News 2020.