THE TRUE coronavirus death toll is lower than the official daily government figures, scientists have claimed.
Initially scientists said that government figures had underestimated the daily death toll, but Oxford University experts now claim that recently it has been overstated.
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The experts suggested that just 40 people a day are dying in all settings combined which includes hospitals, care homes and private households.
Earlier this week the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published deaths registered in England and Wales in the week to July 3.
This revealed that 532 of the 9,140 total mentioned the coronavirus on death certificates.
This indicates a slide from a peak of 1,272 deaths on April 8.
Experts at the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine said the daily number of deaths has fallen considerably with 64 occurring on June 30 and 37 on July 1.
The total number of deaths in all settings is approximately 40 per day
The authors of the report, Professor Carl Henegan and Professor Jason Oke said: “Although these latter counts could be added to in the next week, the trend is still for fewer deaths albeit at a slower rate than seen in April and May.”
Oxford analysis reveals that one of the deaths included in the total this week actually took place on April 27.
This is while three took place in May and two in June.
So far in the UK more than 45,000 people have died from the coronavirus, according to figures from the Department of Health and Social Care.
However Profs Henegan and Oke have now said figures from Public Health England are not reliable.
“What has become apparent in recent weeks is the growing disparity between the numbers released by ONS and those reported by Public Health England which are widely disseminated in the media.
“The total number of Covid-19 deaths in England according to ONS for 3rd July is 48,154 whereas the equivalent total announced on the 4th by PHE was 39,626.
“The PHE figures also vary substantially from day to day. For example, 16 new deaths were announced on 6th July, but the following day, 152 were reported.”
At the start of the pandemic, officials cautioned the public not to rely on the daily death toll figures.
The government later introduced a seven-day rolling average which it claimed delivered a more accurate representation.
The experts said there is a clear disparity between the data sets being released.
The moving average from PHE for June 30 is 103, this is more than data produced by the ONS for June 30 and July 1 combined.
They added: “The moving average is overlaid on to the ONS figures to show the PHE figures average has been consistently higher than ONS for some time.
“A similar analysis of the English hospital data by date of occurrence shows 25 deaths for June 30.
“As this is 60 per cent of Covid deaths in hospitals, we can surmise that the total number of deaths in all settings is approximately 40 per day, much closer to the ONS numbers.”
They said that it’s best to use ONS data and NHS England data to understand the true scope.
Their comments echo that from Professor Karol Sikora who previously said that the actual death toll could be half the official numbers.
He said that doctors may have marked the virus as the cause of death on certificates if there was "any hint" Covid played a part.
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