Covid statistics are like complex machinery; if you don’t read the instructions you won’t operate them properly. Which is why the claim by some media outlets that the UK now has the second highest number of Covid deaths in Europe, should be handled with caution.
It is true that on Wednesday the official UK Covid-19 death toll increased by 4,419 to 26,097 after the government included deaths outside hospitals for the first time. The figures were revised respectively by Public Health England since the first UK death in March.
According to the Guardian, ‘The change comes after weeks of criticism of the way that the UK had been reporting its coronavirus death toll, which made effective comparisons with other European countries impossible.’ While the Mirror stated that the ‘UK now has second highest coronavirus death toll in Europe’.
New figures sent in by civil registries show an additional 12,000 fatalities in Catalonia, the Madrid region and Castilla-La Mancha
Between March 1 and May 12, Spain recorded 43,295 more deaths than what would be considered normal for this time of the year, based on past mortality rates. This is up 52% from the expected deaths for the period.
The figure includes 27,302 confirmed fatalities from Covid-19, but there are an additional 15,993 deaths that show up on civil registries but are not recorded as coronavirus victims, even though many of them probably are.
On Wednesday, a system update with new data sent in by civil registries turned up 12,000 more excess deaths than were previously known. Of these, 7,300 were in Catalonia (mostly in Barcelona), 2,500 in the Madrid region and 800 in Castilla-La Mancha.
Despite difficulty obtaining figures, an EL PAÍS tally shows more than 72,000 infections or suspicious cases at these centers, which have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic
A total of 17,585 people have died of coronavirus or with associated symptoms at residences run by Spain’s social services, according to a tally made by EL PAÍS using figures provided by regional governments.
It is impossible to know how many of Spain’s Covid-19 victims were living in care homes. But by comparing both death counts – the official national toll of 25,857 on Wednesday and the 17,585 deaths at social services centers, using Tuesday figures except for Castilla y León, which includes Wednesday figures – it is possible to determine that the virus has been especially harmful to the elderly.