The UK’s COVID-19 death toll has now surpassed both Spain and Italy after breaking the 30,000 threshold according to the latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics.
The grim milestone was likely reached days ago, but the ONS did not publish the combined official tallies from each UK member nation as of April 24 until Tuesday morning.
According to the latest data from the ONS, some 29,648 deaths were recorded in England and Wales as of April 24 – but once Scotland and Northern Ireland’s official tallies are also included, the total UK coronavirus death toll now stands at 32,313.
This figure surpasses Italy’s 29,079 and Spain’s 25,613 COVID-19 deaths, the two previous worst-impacted countries in Europe in terms of official fatality count.
Approximately 71.8 percent of the deaths registered up to April 24 occurred in hospital, while 5,890 people passed away in care homes, a further 301 in hospices and the remaining 1,306 in private homes.
However, there are discrepancies in how deaths are recorded across Europe, so the figures are subject to change. Many argue that excess mortality, or the number of deaths from all causes compared with the yearly average for a given time of year, is a more useful metric that provides extra context and nuance for the headline figures.
Meanwhile, the British government has been heavily criticized for its lack of coronavirus testing and its apparent attempts to inflate figures in order to reach the stated target of
100,000 coronavirus tests per day. One such reported measure is the inclusion of tests once they have been sent out, as opposed to the previous metric, which only counted tests that had reached the laboratory.