The Covid deaths that did not get counted

<span>Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA</span>
Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

Your correspondent correctly says that deaths due to Covid were not properly counted (Letters, 1 June). From 2020 to 2022, I autopsied people who had died of or with Covid at the request of coroners. But many others died not from having it themselves, but because they were advised not to go to hospital or to see their GP with symptoms, or were frightened that they might catch Covid at a health centre.

They died of undiagnosed acute diabetes, leukaemia, other cancers and acute coronary thrombosis. NHS 111 advisers did not ask people with fever symptoms about their recent travel, so some died alone at home of treatable malaria. Saddest of all were the deaths of pregnant women: one died after a home delivery, and another from undiagnosed sepsis.

I tried to interest London public health leaders in these “collateral Covid deaths”, noting that they needed to collect the autopsy reports. Coroners deleted my references to Covid (“only indirect”), and thus the death certificates did not mention the infection. Public health was not interested.
Prof Sebastian Lucas
Westbury, Wiltshire

• Have an opinion on anything you’ve read in the Guardian today? Please email us your letter and it will be considered for publication in our letters section.