The UK has the highest excess rate of deaths amid the coronavirus crisis among countries with comparable data, research has shown.
Since the week ending March 20, the UK has registered 59,537 more deaths than usual, meaning the pandemic has killed around 891 people per million, directly or indirectly. This is a higher rate than any of the 19 countries in which the same data exists, with Italy and Belgium coming in second and third on the list.
The overall number of excess deaths in the UK is also higher than any country in Europe and second only to the US in global terms, the data shows. Italy follows in third place and Spain falls in fourth.
While the percentage increase in deaths compared to normal levels places the UK second to Peru internationally and once again the worst in Europe, with Belgium coming in third place, the Financial Times reports.
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The time periods compared are from when death rates climbed above five-year averages and include all of the European countries hit hard by coronavirus.
Countries such as China, Brazil and Russia have also seen high death tolls during the pandemic, but their mortality rates are much lower than the UK because the number is much smaller than the size of their populations.
David Spiegelhalter, Winton professor of the public understanding of risk at Cambridge university, said that if the data of other countries is accurate, ‘then the UK has done badly in terms of excess deaths’.
However, he also noted that it was ‘pretty pointless’ to rank countries by their coronavirus hardship, adding: ‘This is not Eurovision.’
For example, Sweden did not impose lockdown restrictions on the public, and has seen 33,843 cases and 4,029 deaths from Covid-19. The coronavirus crisis is also still ongoing, with experts claiming this could only be ‘one half’ of the pandemic.
A spokesperson for the government told the Financial Times it was ‘wrong and premature to be drawing conclusions at this stage’ and that excess deaths should be adjusted for age.
They added: ‘We will, of course, learn lessons from our response to this virus, but these must be drawn from an accurate international analysis in the future.’
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Source: Metro News UK