Covid-19 on 210 death certificates in England and Wales by 20 March
The ONS has published the first of its new weekly bulletin which will include all instances where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate and will include non-hospital deaths.
A total of 210 deaths in England and Wales that occurred up to and including 20 March (and which were registered up to 25 March) had Covid-19 mentioned on the death certificate, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics.
This compares with 170 coronavirus-related deaths reported by NHS England and Public Health Wales up to and including March 20.
A quick note on the difference between the figures published by the ONS and those that have been published thus far by NHS England and Public Health Wales:
The ONS death figures are based on the number of deaths registered in England and Wales where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate as “deaths involving Covid-19”. The number includes all deaths, not just those in hospitals, although there is usually a delay of at least five days between a death occurring and registration.
The figures published by NHS England and Public Health Wales are for deaths only among hospital patients who have tested positive for Covid-19, but include deaths that have not yet been registered.
March was the busiest month on record for supermarkets across Britain as shoppers rushed to stock up on vital supplies to see them through the coronavirus pandemic, according to new data from Kantar.
Grocery sales soared by 20.6% in the last four weeks, and 7.6% in the last 12, beating even Christmas shopping.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said:
Retailers and their staff have been on the front line as households prepare for an extended stay at home, with grocery sales amounting to £10.8 billion during the past four weeks alone – that’s even higher than levels seen at Christmas, the busiest time of year under normal circumstances.
The data suggested that shoppers have tended to focus on buying supplies more regularly, rather than massively increasing the amount they buy per trip.
However, shopping trolleys have been filling up more as well. The average household increased its spending by £62.92 over the last four weeks, with shoppers in London, where the virus hit first, spent a quarter more than they usually do.
The Labour MP, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, has written to the health secretary, Matt Hancock, asking how long NHS staff will have to wait for testing.
In the letter, which she shared on Facebook this morning, she writes:
As you will be aware, I have been working in hospital during the Covid-19 crisis. As such, I would like to convey messages to you from the front line regarding mass testing and seek clarity regarding the availability of testing for NHS staff and the wider population.
Allin-Khan cites apparent discrepancies between the number of tests carried out on health service staff, adding that the “lack of testing is having a huge mental health impact on our NHS workforce”.
The Tooting MP adds:
On the front line we go in to work to save lives – we welcome measures to keep the public safe by keeping them at home, protecting them from harm. In order to get ahead of this virus, I believe we need to fully understand what we are dealing with, and we can only do so by mass testing.
A Covid-19 test centre for NHS workers has opened at Ikea’s store in Wembley, north-west London.
A spokesman for the Swedish furniture giant said:
We’re enormously proud of the NHS and proud to be able to offer Wembley as an additional medical facility.
We have also responded to requests from intensive care units and doctors across the country by delivering tens of thousands of our disposable paper tape measures, to help them continue their amazing care for their patients.
Good morning. The Office for National Statistics is due to release the first publication of the coronavirus death toll to include deaths outside UK hospitals (so in care homes and in the community), giving a more accurate indication of the true number. The bulletin will contain the numbers of deaths involving Covid-19 – specifically, where Covid-19 was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, including in combination with other health conditions. The death toll as of yesterday was 1,408 and with the inclusion of non-hospital deaths, this could rise significantly.
The front pages today are dominated by criticism of the government for failing to roll out testing sooner and the general unpreparedness of the UK for this outbreak. The Daily Mail reports that the “fiasco” of the lack of testing has meant that a quarter of all hospital doctors are now self-isolating at home when they are most needed.
The Times (paywall) reveals that the shortage of masks and gowns in the NHS should have been foreseen a decade ago, as the Cabinet Office first identified that a pandemic would lead to a “pinch point” in the availability of PPE for doctors in 2007-08.
Meanwhile, people should only leave their home to go shopping once a week to buy the essentials as part of the restrictions imposed to combat Covid-19, the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said on the early broadcast round this morning. Shapps acknowledged there had been “teething problems” with the police facing accusations of being heavy handed in enforcing the lockdown, but said people should continue to follow the rules.
We will be covering all UK coronavirus developments throughout the day. You can read all the latest Guardian coronavirus articles here, you can read all the latest Guardian politics articles here and here is the Politico Europe roundup of this morning’s political news.
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