Unexplained Excess Deaths at Home Almost Nine Times Higher Than Those From COVID
Lockdown deaths now exceed COVID deaths by at least four to five times
Unexplained deaths in private homes are nearly nine times higher than those from Covid-19 amid fears that many people are still not accessing lifesaving medical treatment.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that there were 830 excess deaths at home in the week ending September 4 compared to the five-year average. In contrast, just 99 people died with coronavirus mentioned on the death certificate in the same period. Only seven of those died at home.
The figures also show that there were 371 fewer deaths in hospitals, suggesting hundreds of people who would normally have been taken in for treatment had died at home instead.
Even accounting for that number, it still means there are around 450 excess deaths a week at home, from unknown causes, of people who may not ordinarily have died (the graphic below shows how the number of excess deaths in the UK compared to other countries as of last month).
Recent studies have shown that many people did not seek help for serious conditions, such as heart attacks, in recent months.
Professor Karol Sikora, the Dean of Medicine at the University of Buckingham, said: “This is what concerns me so much. Excess deaths are below average in hospitals, but well above average in homes. Are people seeking the medical help they need for illnesses that aren’t coronavirus? Disruption to diagnosis, treatment and research will cost countless lives.”
Figures show that, in the last eight weeks of death registrations, 1,117 people were registered with Covid-19 on the death certificate but excess deaths at home were at 5,556 – suggesting the coronavirus response is now far more deadly than the virus.
Commenting on the figures, Colin Angus, a senior research scientist at the University of Sheffield, said: “This is certainly something we should be looking into.
“This could be deaths that would normally be happening at home, in which case this could be good – people dying at home on their own terms – or it could be bad, with people dying in pain at home unable to access appropriate palliative care.
“To be honest, I find it very surprising there hasn’t been more attention paid to this, since it seems a pretty fundamental shift in how we are dying and it doesn’t look like a short-term effect.”
Britain’s largest surgical college also warned of the “catastrophic” impact of pausing operations and interventions in the event of a second wave of coronavirus, with delayed surgery and diagnostics (the video below explains how cancer referrals hit a record low as the virus crisis grew) potentially leading to more avoidable deaths.
Professor Michael Griffin OBE, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, said the UK could not go back to a situation in which vital procedures such as cancer surgery are stopped.
He said: “The second wave of Covid-19 is imminent, and it is essential to learn from the first phase. To date, measures have not yet effectively been put into place to avoid another shutdown of vital procedures.”
In April, the college discovered that 87 per cent of cancer surgeons had stopped or reduced the number of operations carried out. Experts have estimated that cancer deaths could rise by up to 20 per cent this year as a result of the coronavirus response.
Surgeons would have to work at 160 per cent of their capacity to get waiting lists back to pre-virus levels within a year, but most are only operating at 40 per cent capacity because of Covid safety measures.
Prof Griffin added: “The impact this time could be catastrophic – we are set to lose even more people from cancer and other serious conditions than as a result of the first wave. We cannot afford to stop surgery yet again – we must open these Covid low-risk environments as more delay in diagnosis and treatment of patients with other illnesses apart from Covid could be devastating.”
An NHS spokesperson said: “For every person with covid that NHS hospitals treated during the first wave clinicians were also treating two non-covid inpatients; 85,000 people received cancer treatment during the first wave, 1,800 babies were delivered every day, and GPs held over 102 million appointments – as the NHS stayed opened to care for all who needed it.
“As we are all once again to help stop the spread of coronavirus, if anybody has any concerns, they should definitely contact the NHS as they normally would.”
Source: The Telegraph