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UK overtakes Italy with most official COVID19 deaths in Europe.

Written by on May 6, 2020

Britain now has Europe’s highest official coronavirus death toll after the latest round of daily figures Tuesday showed it overtaking Italy. Only the United States has recorded more virus-related deaths.

The British government said another 693 people died in hospitals, nursing homes and other settings after testing positive for COVID-19, taking the total to 29,427 — above Italy’s 29,315.

Though the U.K.’s coronavirus-related death toll, when measured on a seven-day rolling basis, has been falling consistently for the past three to four weeks, the country is around two weeks behind Italy in terms of the pandemic. The tallies are likely underestimates because they do not include suspected coronavirus deaths.

Taking into account countries’ populations, the U.K.’s per capita death rate is below those in Italy, Spain and Belgium. And the U.S. is below them all even though it has the highest number of registered COVID-19 deaths with more than 70,000.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the number of deaths was a “massive tragedy,” but added that it was too soon to make reliable international comparisons, partly because of apparent differences in the way countries report deaths.

“I don’t think we’ll get a real verdict on how well countries have done until the pandemic is over and particularly until we’ve got comprehensive international data on all-cause mortality,” he said.

There is a growing consensus among scientists and statisticians that the best way to assess deaths eventually will be to measure how many more people died than would normally have been expected to die in any particular year.


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