Daily Express

Fightback boost as deaths at care homes are halved

- By Sam Lister and Sarah O’Grady

CARE home coronaviru­s deaths have halved in the past few weeks, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday.

Official figures showed nearly 10,000 residents with Covid-19 had died by the start of May.

It comes as the daily total virus death figure hit 627, taking the total toll to 32,692.

Mr Hancock said there has been a sharp recent drop in the number of people dying in care homes and that transmissi­on of the virus has slowed.

He said: “I’m really pleased that the number of people dying in care homes is now falling, quite sharply.

“The number has almost halved over the past two to three weeks, since the peak. It’s very clear that the transmissi­on in care homes is coming down and is much lower than it was.”


Care homes have been the second front line in the fight against the disease and some staff have struggled to get hold of the protective equipment they need.

But Mr Hancock dismissed claims that the Government had let down care homes and said the death rate there was lower than in other countries.

He said: “That’s really unfair. The reason is this – some of our most vulnerable people live in care homes and yet only around a quarter of deaths have been in care homes.

“And at the same time, we’ve put in place those measures to protect people in care homes.” Almost 10,000 care home residents have now died of Covid-19 across the UK – a quarter of all the country’s victims.

By the beginning of May, 8,312 people had died in care homes in England and Wales, along with 1,195 in Scotland and 232 in Northern Ireland – a total of 9,739.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show that, although homes are still reported to be in the grip of the virus, the number of people dying in them had started to fall by the end of April. Between April 18 and 24, care homes in England andWales recorded 2,794 resident deaths.

But between April 25 and May 1 this fell to 2,423.

The fall coincides with a drop in deaths from all causes (from 21,997 to 17,953), in Covid-19 deaths in any location (6,746 to 4,744), and coronaviru­s hospital

deaths (4,841 to 3,214). But the true number of deaths in Britain is likely to be more than 44,000 and almost 40 per cent higher than the Government’s tally.

However, the ONS said the official Department of Health and Social Care death figure of 32,065 – as of Monday – was outstrippe­d in April. The actual number of people to have died appeared to already be 38,333 by May 1 – 35,044 in England and Wales, 2,795 in Scotland, and 494 in Northern Ireland.

Adjusting yesterday’s official total deaths (32,692) in line with that difference would put the current number of victims at around 45,000.

This backdated ONS data includes everyone who has Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificat­e, regardless of whether they were tested.

The Government only counts people who have tested positive.

Meanwhile, town hall leaders have urged the Government to make rapid improvemen­ts in the supply of personal protective equipment to staff in the social care sector.

Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Associatio­n’s community wellbeing board, said: “Social care is the frontline in the fight against coronaviru­s.


“We need to continue doing all we can to shield our most elderly and vulnerable, including those receiving care in their homes.”

Fiona Carragher, research director at UK Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Each of these deaths is a heart-breaking loss to their friends, families and carers.

“This is why the Government must honour their commitment to ensure care homes get testing for all residents and staff and the protective equipment that they need.”

 ?? Picture: STEVE REIGATE ?? Coronaviru­s survivor Mary Grant, 100, with care staff and a copy of her favourite newspaper
Picture: STEVE REIGATE Coronaviru­s survivor Mary Grant, 100, with care staff and a copy of her favourite newspaper

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