England’s coronavirus death toll is nearly 10,000 higher than previously reported by the government, new statistics show.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Tuesday show that by 15 May, there had been 40,096 deaths involving COVID-19.
This compares to the government’s official England death toll of 30,753 for that day, making a difference of 9,343.
The discrepancy is because the government’s daily figures are based on a different criteria to that of the ONS.
The Department of Health only counts deaths where the person had tested positive for COVID-19, whereas the ONS counts deaths where the virus, including suspected cases, was mentioned on the death certificate.
The ONS said: “Numbers produced by the ONS take longer to prepare because they have to be certified by a doctor, registered and processed. But once ready, they are the most accurate and complete information.”
Tuesday’s new figures also show the number of deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales had reached its lowest weekly level for six weeks: 3,810 in the week ending 15 May.
The percentage of deaths involving COVID-19, as well as the total number of excess deaths compared with the five-year average, also continued to decrease.
However, during the week up to 15 May, deaths in care homes accounted for more than half of the total number of COVID-19 deaths for the first time.
On 9 May there were 214 deaths in care homes: 51% of the total, while 191 (46%) happened in hospitals.
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