Why The Latest Covid Death Data Is Not All It Seems

Covid deaths recorded in the UK are at their highest level since March – but the statistics do not tell the full story.

There were 948 deaths reported in the seven days ending September 7, according to the official government dashboard. This is compared to 681 deaths reported in the previous seven-day period ending August 31. The increase of 267 deaths marks a 39.2% rise – the highest level in five months – but we shouldn’t panic just yet.

The figures may come as a surprise, particularly as four in five adults over the age of 16 are now vaccinated against coronavirus, according to the latest figures published by the UK’s four health agencies.

But Professor Paul Hunter, an expert in infectious diseases based at Norwich Medical School, UEA, says the uptick might be due to the way data is collected, rather than another surge in severe disease.

“Almost all of that apparent increase can be explained by delayed reporting of deaths over the bank holiday weekend,” he tells HuffPost UK. “We need to wait a week so the bank holiday effect is purged from the statistics to get a clearer understanding of what is happening.

“Are [deaths] increasing? Looking at the recent data by date of death, deaths may actually be falling, though I would need to wait another few days to be certain.”

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