The British government today said it was pausing publishing daily updates on coronavirus deaths amid concern over how the numbers are reported in England.
“There have been claims that the lack of cut-off may distort the current daily deaths number,” said a message on the government’s website, adding that it would “therefore pause the publication of the daily figure while this is resolved.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Friday called for a review into how coronavirus deaths are recorded in England after experts warned the numbers reported could be distorted and misleading compared to the rest of the country.
Public Health England, the government agency responsible for managing infectious disease outbreaks, currently counts in its daily coronavirus statistics “all people who have tested positive for coronavirus and since died, with no cut-off between time of testing and date of death.”
But this is problematic, according to academics, because patients who tested positive for coronavirus and were successfully treated would still be counted under coronavirus deaths even if they died from another disease months later.
The U.K. is among the European countries to have been hardest hit by the coronavirus, with an official death toll of more than 45,000.