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Deaths from Covid-19: how are they counted and what do they show?

By May 14, 2020National News

Why does the UK count deaths? From the King’s Fund

Mortality data has many uses. It can be used to assess population health and health care needs, plan health and other public services, evaluate the effectiveness of such services, identify inequalities, inform medical research and more.

Information from death certificates compiled by the ONS provides the main source of national data on deaths. Details of the deceased person, such as name, date of birth, gender, cause and place of death, are recorded on the death certificate. The aggregated ‘vital statistics’ produced from this information are used to calculate mortality rates for different causes of death. The data can also be analysed in different ways, for example, to show how mortality rates vary between different population groups and areas and how they are changing over time.

As with deaths from other causes, deaths from Covid-19 are registered and recorded in official statistics. However, these processes take time and some delay in reporting the numbers is unavoidable. Being a new, potentially dangerous and highly infectious disease that is spreading rapidly, monitoring the scale, spread and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on a daily basis is vital for containing and managing it.

This means new ways of counting Covid-19 deaths have had to be developed…..

To read the rest of this briefing go to the King’s Fund (opens in a new tab)

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