Fears over ‘collateral deaths’ as latest figures show more than 300 died of coronavirus in seven days in North East

Concern remains about so-called ‘collateral deaths’ related to Covid-19 outbreak, despite numbers in the North East falling for the second week running, according to the latest official data.

By James Harrison
Thursday, 14th May 2020, 5:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th May 2020, 5:18 pm
Numbers released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) recorded 316 fatalities linked to the outbreak for the week ending May 1.
Numbers released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) recorded 316 fatalities linked to the outbreak for the week ending May 1.

Figures show the number of cases in which coronavirus was mentioned on death certificates in the region dropped by more than 100 at the end of April.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recorded 316 fatalities linked to the outbreak for the week ending May 1.

It also saw a decline in the overall number of deaths, which appear to have peaked in the week ending April 16.

But it’s still significantly higher than what would usually be expected for this time of year – even after deaths formally connected to Covid-19 are ruled out.

“There has rightly been concern about deaths from causes other than COVID-19; so-called ‘collateral deaths’ that occur because people have not got to hospital to get usual treatment – for example from heart attacks,” said Prof David Leon, Professor of Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

“In care homes at the height of problem (in mid-April) they were dealing with over 5000 more deaths per week [nationally] than is usual.”

According to Prof Leon, increased burden on care homes may have eased pressure on hospitals, which according to some comparisons have seen a decrease in deaths.

He added: “This issue needs urgent attention, and steps taken to ensure that those who would benefit from hospital treatment and care for other conditions can get it.”

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