In the latest figures published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) they show a marked increase in covid-19 deaths in Kent (including Medway) – as reporting accuracy increases to include non-hospital settings.
As the chart below shows there were 542 deaths attributable to covid-19 across Kent & Medway that occurred up to 17th April but were registered up to the 25th April.
The increasing accuracy in the data shows deaths in care homes in Kent & Medway account for 108 deaths in Kent or put another way, one in five of all fatalities recorded in the county, to the 25/04/20.
The rise in deaths in care homes from other causes is more marked, as one might expect. If residents are already very sick the Coronavirus might be just one of several factors contributing to death in many residents.
It is clear then as the virus began to take hold, movement in and out of care homes by staff and visitors enabled the virus to spread. What care home workers need is testing, the sooner the better, as it may still be the case those who are working in care homes could well be asymptomatic and transmitting the virus to those in their care. Plus staff need personal protective equipment to be able to do their job safely.
Overall the deaths in the ONS figures for Kent from other causes not including care homes appear not to be affected by the rise in Covid-19 deaths. When care homes are taken out of the equation, deaths in Kent by other causes drop perceptibly as the virus takes hold, as the graph below shows. This might be explained by sick people who are not in a care home and who might have been expected to pass away from underlying conditions, were taken instead by the virus.
￼Across England and Wales the same pattern is seen. The perceptible drop in deaths from other causes in recent weeks, after several weeks of a level death rate is more likely to be explained by Covid-19 hastening the death of people already in a weak condition than a drop explained by seasonal factors (e.g. warmer weather).
And looking exclusively at London Boroughs as covid-19 represents more than half of all deaths in weeks 14, 15 and 16, the rise in the other causes figures suggests covid-19 as a cause of death has been under-reported.
But that’s not the only story the data tells about London. Deaths from other causes are up to 70% higher in recent weeks than would be expected at this time of year. One possibility is Covid-19 deaths not yet identified as such and gives credence to under reporting. Another factor might be sick people choosing to avoid going to hospitals and dying of a condition that might have been treatable.
The ONS numbers are based on the local authority area where the deceased person lived. Their data is also based on all registered deaths where people had Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate as a listed cause of death, even if it was suspected, although it may not be the main cause of death, it may have been contributory factor.
While confirmed hospital deaths in Kent from ONS numbers are lower compared to NHS England figures, overall deaths provided by the ONS for England and Wales are far higher than previously reported by the NHS daily figures.
All of the Shepwayvox Team extend their thanks and gratitude to all NHS staff, all carers in care homes and hospices, to family members who looked after loved ones in their homes for helping all the people represented in the charts above. The thanks you are all owed is immeasurable.
The numbers above are not just numbers, they represent a real person who has passed away because of covid-19, or for other health reasons. Each of them have family, loved ones and friends. To each of you, wherever you are in Kent or Medway, we extend our deepest condolences to you, as we understand many of you will not have been able to be with them at the end.
The one comfort we can all take from the persons passing is that each of them received the most powerful drug in the world – kindness. It work’s for everyone, it’s hard to get the dose wrong, and it’s free at the point of delivery. Thanks to all those who have delivered that throughout this crisis.
The Shepwayvox Team
Stay At Home – Protect The NHS – Save Lives