Amid growing concern over the changing picture of the epidemic presented by changes in daily numbers, NHS England said the earliest death occurred on February 28, almost a week before the date previously recognized.
Health trusts in England have revealed that six people died in Covid-19 hospitals as early as February – the first death was made public on March 5. The news came as the UK endured its deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic, in which 569 deaths were recorded.
Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon admitted on Thursday that the death toll in Scotland had been significantly underreported due to delays in notifying the government of 40 Covid-19 deaths earlier this week, which increased Scotland’s total of 31% in one day.
UK-wide figures showed that at 5 p.m. Wednesday, a total of 2,921 people had died, following a slightly larger increase than the previous day, when there were 563 deaths.
As of 9 a.m. on Thursday, 163,194 people had been tested for the virus across the UK, with 33,718 positive cases, an increase of 4,244 from the previous day. A total of 12,949 people have so far been hospitalized for symptoms.
Death figures reveal a moving picture, with totals beset by inconsistencies and the total number of deaths reported on a given day significantly higher than in the previous 24 hours. On Thursday, 561 deaths were reported, but only 84 occurred within 24 hours to 5 hours on April 1.
Earlier this week, the number of deaths reported on a day was less than half the total number of deaths that occurred during the reporting period the day before. On March 30, 159 deaths were reported by the NHS England. The actual number of deaths that day has since been revised to 401.
The new figures also reveal the age groups of those who have died to date. More than half of the patients (52%) who died from coronavirus were over the age of 80. Most of the other deaths (40%) were in patients aged 60 to 79 years. 7% of deaths had occurred in people aged 40 to 59 years.
Less than 1% of the victims were under 40 years of age. The figures show three deaths in the under-20 category and 22 other victims aged 20 to 39. A 13-year-old boy who died at King’s College Hospital is said to be the youngest victim so far.
Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia specializing in infectious diseases, said the data suggested that the UK was about two weeks behind Italy. “Yesterday was a huge leap from yesterday, which itself was a pretty big increase from yesterday. This increase is slightly higher than yesterday but essentially on a par, “he said.
The Scottish government revealed Thursday that the number of deaths from Covid-19 appeared to jump 66% in one day, up 50 from 76 reported Wednesday, after it appeared that 40 deaths earlier this weeks were not recorded centrally.
The decentralized government later released revised data for the week after using a new methodology that included laboratory data. So far, the deaths of Covid-19 in this set have not been counted until the next of kin has authorized their registration.
Updated figures show that Scottish death rates started to increase much faster than expected on March 31. Using the old system, the official death toll stood at 86 on Thursday; the new methodology brought Thursday’s total to 126.
Catherine Calderwood, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Scotland, said that each death meant that there were around 1,000 coronavirus infections in the general population, which means that 40,000 more Scottish people could have been infected.
Sturgeon said there had been delays in obtaining the consent of relatives before some deaths were recorded centrally. Health Protection Scotland, a government agency, later confirmed that new “more effective” reporting procedures had been introduced and did not require the consent of the families.
“Part of the cruelty of this virus is that when people are in the hospital and when they die, family members cannot be with them,” said Sturgeon. “So it took a little longer for families to be informed and to give their consent to whatever is required.”
Opposition parties censored the Scottish government for these false claims. The Labor Party has said it echoes the concerns of general practitioners and families that deaths outside hospitals and “suspected deaths” are not properly recorded and missed.
Monica Lennon, spokesperson for Scottish Labor for Health, said, “No matter where people died, whether in their own home, nursing home or hospital, we need all the facts about this virus. It is clear that a lack of tests contributes to the lack of information, which is unacceptable. “
Additional reports: Niamh McIntyre and Pamela Duncan