Britain’s coronavirus death toll dropped to the lowest level since March yesterday, as 66 more coronavirus deaths were announced by the Department of Health. But two Oxford academics have accused the Government of inflating the number of fatalities that succumb to the virus each day.
Dr Jason Oke and Professor Carl Heneghan, two Oxford University statisticians, have claimed the Government is inflating the actual daily death toll and misleading the British public.
They said the actual number of people to die from coronavirus is actually fewer than 40 people.
The two experts have claimed the Government figures are inaccurate, because officials add on historical deaths to random deaths – even when the fatalities happened weeks or even months ago.
They have urged No10 to make it clearer, so that when there are one day spikes, such as the 138 deaths announced on Tuesday, it doesn’t appear that the outbreak is accelerating.
Writing in a blog Dr Oke and Professor Heneghan said: “What has become apparent in recent weeks is the growing disparity between the numbers released by ONS [Office for National Statistics] and those reported by Public Health England which are widely disseminated in the media.”
They said the figures “vary substantially from day to day” and explained: “This variation is most likely due to the appearance of ‘historic’ deaths that have occurred weeks before, but for some reason unknown to us, get reported in batches on particular days.
“To counter this variation, a moving average smooths the trend, but even this is at odds with the ONS data…
“We can surmise that the total number of deaths in all settings is approximately 40 per day, much closer to the ONS numbers.”
The Government has pointed out in the past that it counts deaths on the date that the paperwork is completed, not when the person actually died, which can make day-by-day figures inaccurate.
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7.45am update: Boris to hold press conference at 11am
Boris Johnson will hold a press conference at Downing Street later this morning to unveil new plans to ease the coronavirus lockdown.
He is expected to discuss the Government’s plans to get the NHS ready for the winter, after it was announced the NHS would receive a £3billion cash injection.
The Prime Minister is also set to clarify whether Britons should be returning back to the office and ditching home working.