It is “very likely” that some of the 10,000 “unexplained” additional deaths in care homes in April were due to coronavirus, deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries has said.
Dr Harries’ comment raises the prospect that the true death toll of the outbreak in the UK could be significantly higher than the official figure of 33,186.
Labour leader Keir Starmer today challenged Boris Johnson over the 26,000 fatalities in care homes recorded by the Office for National Statistics last month – a “staggering” three times the normal rate for April, of whom only 8,000 are officially recorded as Covid-19 deaths.
Mr Johnson acknowledged that the statistics indicated a “tragedy that has been taking place in care homes” but gave no explanation of the disparity between the ONS and government figures.
But speaking later at the daily Downing Street coronavirus briefing, Dr Harries said that the 8,000 figure covered only people who had been confirmed by laboratory tests as having contracted coronavirus.
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