Hancock calls for urgent review into coronavirus death data in England

Matt HancockImage copyright
PA Media

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has called for an urgent review into the compilation of coronavirus deaths data in England.

It follows confirmation that reported deaths may have included people who tested positive months before they died.

The other UK nations are only thought to include people who die within 28 days of having coronavirus.

Public Health England is responsible for reporting Covid-19 deaths.

Analysis by Robert Cuffe, BBC’s head of stats

This could explain why the daily death toll in England has remained higher than in other UK nations.

Scotland and Northern Ireland, for example, only include deaths in their daily count if someone died within 28 days of a positive test.

But it doesn’t mean that most of England’s coronavirus deaths are counting errors.

Statisticians say it’s better to look at death registrations that pick up coronavirus cases that were never confirmed by a lab test.

And when you look at those figures, or deaths from all causes, England still has one of the highest deaths tolls in Europe and leading developed economies in the pandemic, to date.