Current Affairs Health

UK Coronavirus Death Toll Over 41,000, More Than Double Official Figures

An extraordinary story from the Financial Times in London and one that will almost certainly be replicated in many other countries as the true costs of the Covid-19 pandemic are weighed up in the coming months and years:

The coronavirus pandemic has already caused as many as 41,000 deaths in the UK, according to a Financial Times analysis of the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.

The estimate is more than double the official figure of 17,337 released by ministers on Tuesday, which is updated daily and only counts those who have died in hospitals after testing positive for the virus.

The FT extrapolation, based on figures from the ONS that were also published on Tuesday, includes deaths that occurred outside hospitals updated to reflect recent mortality trends.

Using this calculation, a conservative estimate of UK excess deaths by April 21 was 41,102.

Given increasing concerns on this side of the Irish Sea about the death toll in the wider community from the coronavirus it seems certain that our own official figures will be revised upwards when we finally enter the period of research rather than crisis management. And though there are perfectly legitimate criticisms to be made of the caretaker government and the authorities in general for their handling of the emergency, including the attempts by some Fine Gael ministers to dodge accountability for it in the Dáil, in general we can be grateful for a far better response by both the State and its citizenry than seen in some other regions of the world. Even if that partly came through the forewarning created by the health catastrophes that rapidly swamped our EU partners in Italy and Spain.

That said I suspect that the judgement of history will be less than kind to those political parties that opted to avoid the responsibilities of government since the inconclusive general election held in early February. And that the next general election, which may come earlier than expected, will throw up some more surprises.

Though hopefully not for the likes of the political degenerates who turned up in the Four Courts yesterday.

Update below:

27 comments on “UK Coronavirus Death Toll Over 41,000, More Than Double Official Figures

  1. terence patrick hewett

    It’s “get Boris at all costs” the last stand of the Remainer Faction of the UK political civil war. It is the EUs worst nightmare – a successful Brexit.


    • Can’t see the link. Brexit is last years issue and a done deal (and for those of us who argued from the off that Brexit had to take place one way or another on foot of the vote, though would have sought a softer version than the current one, that’s all there is to it). This is about the viral crisis. Johnson and his government have to stand or fall on the decisions taken during the outbreak. And by that standard they’ve failed miserably as numerous reports from the Sunday Times, the FT above and so on indicate. Whetrh in or out of the EU as ASF notes there was the developing and clear cut situation in Italy as an example of what to avoid. Dithering over the approach to be taken, the craziness of not contact tracing, the absurdity of ‘herd immunity’ when we do not have evidence that is possible (and considerable evidence it likely is not) and that’s just for starters. Oh, and the incredible situation of a PM shaking hands and exposing himself to a virus that saw Cabinet members become very ill and he himself wind up in ICU. I mean if one wrote this down as a thought experiment a year or two ago it would be absurd. That it actually has happened…


      • terence patrick hewett

        You don’t understand: Boris is more popular than he has ever been. The trouble is with you politicals is that you fail to understand human nature in all it’s flaws and sillyness. It is why you always lose.


        • rossioncoyle

          I get it that he is popular and he certainly knows how to appeal to the electorate in a far more effective way than the soulless neoliberal technocrats. My issue is that standards, quality of leaders today are pitiful when compared to men and women of the past. I was just reading Eamon DeValera’s writings on the Home -Rule debate at the turn of the last century. These people were high minded, literate and extremely competent whether or not one shared their politics. Contrast to the base base morons and middle management style careerists of today.


          • Couldn’t agree more. It’s not just retrospect, they were serious people. And in fairness the same cold be said about British politicians, many of them, in the same era. In unionism too. Carson for example (although later, read some of the stuff from Stormont Cabinet Ministers and the quality is very variable).


            • Always lose what TPH?

              And if Boris is popular now is entirely irrelevant to the political and policy aspects of what has taken place in the UK (which by the way I have friends and family living in so I have a stake in matters going well there). They’re two completely different things and the first does not in any sense mitigate or legitimise the second.


  2. terence patrick hewett

    O Sol O Mio

    Are you for real?


    • Well the Sunday Times is hardly a left wing or centrist outlet. Anything but. And I don’t recall it pursuing Remain. So if it comes up with some genuinely damning stuff about Johnson it seems to me that to pull in ‘Brexit’ as an explanatory framework is, diversionary at best.


      • marconatrix

        I wonder …


        • Maybe in five or ten years the issue could be reconsidered but it’s way too soon now crisis or no crisis. In any case the Tories aren’t going to open the gate to that. And I’d be dubious an LP government would go for it either. They might shift matters back to a softer position but I imagine the broad brushstrokes of the current situation will persist, and whatever my own feelings about the best relationship between the UK and the EU there’s the legitimation of the referendum underpinning that.

          Liked by 1 person

          • gendjinn

            With a solid Tory majority and 5 years to run, you are right it’s whatever type of Brexit they and their backers want. Stamer doesn’t seem to be that effective.

            But it is early days, global pandemic and a catastrophically adverse economic events have historically been correlated with change or, you know, interesting times.

            Labour has Capital by the intimates while this pandemic lasts. There’s been an uptick in in strikes, unionizing, calls for a May Day general strike for logistics, food, service workers. Not even two months in and seams are under severe tension.


  3. And what about the north of Ireland.

    Same methodology?


  4. “You don’t understand: Boris is more popular than he has ever been.”
    This comment says it all, actually. It doesn’t matter a flying one whether you’re even halfway competent apparently, as long as you’re popular. Then we wonder why we’re in such a mess on both sides of the Atlantic.

    As for those political degenerates that were protesting outside the Four Courts yesterday, taking a leaf out of Trump and his supporters playbook, words fail me. Well they don’t, actually – but as a person of peace, I won’t write what I immediately thought when I read the report.


  5. On the main subject of the article, I too suspect that the numbers of deaths in most countries (including Ireland) will be drastically scaled upwards somewhere down the line. But by then it will be old news, and have little to no effect on political positions. Which is the very reason the true numbers are being withheld.
    As for the dross that nowadays occupies political positions. This is something that has been developing for a long time, and has now reached its zenith. It is largely, but not entirely, to do with competition from the private sector for the brightest and the best. Very, very few highly-intelligent people are going to choose politics over the private sector, given the comparatively pitiful salaries on offer in politics (not to mention it being a thankless job anyway, without the slightest notion of job security never mind the prospect of promotion). Simply put, where politics is concerned if you’re offering only peanuts then don’t be surprised if you only attract monkeys.


  6. During a live interview the other day, a UK minister frustratedly complained, “Why does everyone keep talking about Germany?” Why indeed, minister?

    Compare and contrast these figures from The Guardian (the UK figure is absent Care Home and other non-hospital coronavirus deaths):

    Germany: Coronavirus Cases:150,648 Deaths: 5,315 Recovered: 103,300
    UK: Coronavirus Cases:133,495 Deaths: 18,100 Recovered: N/A


  7. This isn’t going to be just Britain. Almost every country will upwardly revise its death count. Nor is this unique to this pandemic.

    Other disasters usually have upward revisions, often going on years later. Most wars have upward revisions. One rule of thumb is that Civil Wars are almost always undercounted for at least the first 70 years after they happen-sometimes debates about the rule count start centuries later. I believe the estimates over The Great Famine were much lower than currently accepted ones into the 20th century. Now they are saying the same about the Soviet Famines. And Argentina’s disappeared. And even the “Missing Woman” problem in Juarez, Mexico is now being said to have under-counted by up to 10x.

    The reality is that it’s almost impossible to properly count any crisis without the benefit of some hindsight.

    As for Germany and a few other countries that have done really well: I suspect that there’s something going on other these countries just doing a wonderful job of handling this on a proximal basis. One possibility could be the BCG hypothesis. If that’s not true, I’m sure at some time other theories will advance. Reason I think this: Respiratory viruses are notoriously hard to control.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I wonder how many King Trump supporters are going to try injecting disinfectant for protection against/cure for coronavirus, as he suggested. Straight into the lungs, he reckons.
    As we say in this part of the world, there’s wiser eating grass.


    • God, that was awful. And Dettol issuing warnings on social media for people not to drink their product? It’s end times stuff! 😠

      Liked by 1 person

      • And the US political and judicial establishments (as puppets of all-powerful business corporations) can’t remove this lunatic from office, even if they were of a mind to.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The Senate had a perfect opportunity to Impeach him. They made a choice not to, out of misguided party loyalty.


          • Out of party loyalty? Out of loyalty to their paymasters in big business, more like.


            • It had nothing to do with what you think at all. It had to do with a series of choices the GOP made starting around 1980. They’ve painted themselves into a corner that they couldn’t get out of without taking serious political risks. And the risks would involve their “base” voters, rather than any particular donors.


      • My guess? Is that many Trump supporters would react to that statement by hoping somebody does drink bleach or inject themselves so they can laugh at person as an idiot who will believe anything. They aren’t stupid enough to do themselves, but boy would they hope that somebody will be stupid enough to drink bleach or inject themselves with disinfectant so they can laugh their asses off that person.

        A lot of Trump supporters like Trump because he’s so offensive to Obama’s voters. Different subsets of Obama voters have somewhat different things that they look for in a President… that sense he had a bit of “something for everyone”. Baby Boomers nostalgic for Kennedy adored his speaking style. Liberals and some moderates like a President who is smart and “cool as a cucumber”, so a lot of them liked the “No Drama Obama”. A lot of people appreciated moderate but real health reform. You don’t usually get to be the “First President” of any Demographic without that kind of “multi-layered” appeal. The fact that first Irish Catholic President and the first President to grow up genuinely poor were also highly charismatic and powerful orators was no accident.

        A lot of people didn’t like Obama for a whole run of reasons. Some of them were the reasons they hated Clinton more or less recycled. Some were racist. Some are just vengeful and would find reasons to hate any Democrat no matter what. A lot of Trump voters didn’t actually like Trump much or hope to gain much of anything tangible from him as President. What they wanted was revenge on the Obama voters-by electing somebody most Obama voters would find extremely offensive.

        In the South in particular there is a long tradition of people liking “colorful” politicians. Behavior they ABSOLUTELY WOULD NOT WANT to see in their son-in-law, would be *just a hoot* in their Governor or Congressman….At least since Reconstruction offending “Yankee” sensibilities of how a leader should act was part of the appeal.

        So what I would expect is not a rash of Trump voters drinking bleach. What I would expect is if somebody who is very, very uneducated and not very political tries such a thing-and before Trump many any such comments there were others cases of people doing things like drinking ant poison, eating poison mushrooms, drinking the mercury in a thermometer and other strange stuff because they believed it could cure Coronavirus. When it happens Trump supporters will howl and laugh with a sick passion.

        That my friends is the nature of “the beast” with a lot of Trump supporters. They aren’t people who just listen to whatever Trump says and blindly believe it. They take most of what he says with a sick irony. It’s not that they believe what he is saying. It’s like they are enjoying having somebody as outrageous as “Borat” for President.


        • Well, as long as it’s all a laugh, that makes it okay then. (Incidentally, the notion that Trump draws his support mainly from the southern red-neck idiot class was blown out of the water long ago.)


          • Look at a map. It’s very hard to deny voting patterns are and have long been associated with different regions, but especially the South. Parties have changed, but the Regional Divides have survived. It’s not really about being “rednecks” or “idiots”. It is because there are complex and serious regional and historical divides in the county, that cut across income and education levels. If anything Regional divides are somewhat more pronounced among people in said regions with higher levels of education and/or income, than among lower income people and/or those with at most a HS Diploma. It’s totally a myth that the distinct political behavior of Southern voters can be put down to education, income or “being a redneck”. It can’t. The region is much, much more complicated than that.

            As usual you miss my point. The fact is that many hard core Trump supporters are motivated by Nihilism and Misanthropy rather than Blind Obedience.


  9. Marina Hyde in The Guardian: “In any case, Trump’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis was always predictable pathologically. You’re asking a man who got to the Oval Office by going viral to disavow a virus. It’s not very surprising that Trump can’t bring himself to. You have to think he recognises something of a kindred spirit in the disease, which is indifferent to all human suffering, impacts disproportionately on ethnic minorities and is horrifyingly resistant to therapy.”


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: