Coronavirus update, Britain


This 11 April 2020 video says about itself:

Coronavirus: UK suffers higher daily death toll than Italy or Spain – BBC News

980 people in the UK have died in hospital from coronavirus in the past 24 hours – that’s higher than Spain or Italy’s worst daily death tolls. And it does not include people who have died from the virus in care homes or in the community. It means almost 9,000 people in the UK have now lost their lives.

The government’s deputy chief medical officer has warned that the UK is in a “dangerous phase”. Meanwhile there have been more complaints from frontline staff about a lack of personal protection equipment. …

Sophie Raworth presents BBC News reports from Health Editor Hugh Pym and Fiona Trott in Scarborough.

By Bethany Rielly in Britain:

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Tories presiding over ‘national scandal’ as Covid-19 deaths in care homes increase tenfold

THE Tories [British Conservative government] are presiding over a “national scandal” in care homes, where recorded deaths of elderly residents from coronavirus have increased tenfold in one week.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures published today showed that in the week to April 3, 217 people in care homes in England and Wales died from the virus, compared with 23 the previous week.

The government confirmed on Monday evening that over 2,000 care homes have suffered coronavirus outbreaks. But care sector leaders warn that the true number of deaths is still likely to be far higher. Last week, Care England, the industry’s representative body, estimated the death toll at about 1,000.

Two of Britain’s largest care home providers, HC-One and MHA, have reported 521 deaths in recent weeks from the virus.

Care England chief executive Martin Green said: “The ONS figures show a significant increase in the numbers of people that have died in care homes, but we need more testing and more regular figures so that we understand the scope of the pandemic.”

The disparity between the figures has prompted concerns that ministers have been underestimating the scale of the problem in care homes.

MPs are now demanding that statistics on coronavirus deaths in the community should be issued daily.

Labour’s shadow social-care minister Liz Kendall said: “We urgently need these figures on a daily basis to help deal with the emerging crisis in social care and ensure everything possible is being done to protect more than 400,000 elderly and disabled people who live in nursing and residential care homes.”

Deaths from coronavirus that occur outside hospitals are excluded from official statistics, leading charities to warn that old people are being “airbrushed” from coronavirus figures.

Labour MP Diane Abbott accused the government of being deliberately opaque about the scale of the crisis in care homes. “When the whole truth comes out, it will be one of the biggest scandals of the coronavirus,” she said.

Unison blames the soaring number of deaths in care homes on chronic shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The union’s general secretary Dave Prentis said: “These figures are nothing short of a national scandal. Elderly and vulnerable residents face a death sentence because staff lack PPE.

“Care staff working in residential homes and out in the community feel like they — and the people they care for — are bottom of the priority list for PPE.”

But Work & Pension Secretary Therese Coffey defended the exclusion of care-home deaths from official figures. She told the BBC that the daily figure was based on hospital deaths because “it’s accurate and quick.”

From daily News Line in Britain today:

Coronavirus ‘Running Wild In Care Homes!’

THE LATEST figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which include every community death linked to Covid-19 in England and Wales, showed a total of 406 such deaths registered up to 3rd April had occurred outside of hospitals.

That would have added an extra 11% to the official UK figures, based solely on deaths in hospitals being reported at that time.

Of those extra deaths, 217 took place in care homes, 33 in hospices, 136 in private homes, three in other communal establishments and 17 elsewhere.

Age UK, Marie Curie, Care England, Independent Age and the Alzheimer’s Society have written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock demanding a care package to support social care through the pandemic.

They have also called for a daily update on deaths in the care system.

It comes after the government confirmed there had been coronavirus outbreaks at more than 2,000 care homes in England – although they did not specify the number of deaths that had occurred.

The figures prompted the charity Age UK to claim coronavirus is ‘running wild’ in care homes for elderly people.

‘The current figures are airbrushing older people out like they don’t matter,’ Caroline Abrahams, the charity’s director, said.

‘About 410,000 people live in care homes in the UK, living in 11,300 care homes for older people supplied by 5,500 different providers.

England’s care home regulator, the Care Quality Commission, has said it will begin recording deaths in adult social care from this week.

Conservative peer and former work and pensions minister Baroness Ros Altmann has expressed her concern about what is happening in the care sector.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that ‘one or two’ people in care homes had told her they felt as though older people are being treated ‘like lambs to the slaughter’.

‘They (care homes) are left without protective equipment, they are left without testing,’ she said.

‘They haven’t got the staff that they need because staff are either falling ill or there were already staff shortages.’

She added that ‘the mark of a civilised society’ was ‘how it treats it most vulnerable and oldest citizens.’

There were 16,387 deaths in the week ending 3rd April – the highest since the ONS started publishing weekly data in 2005. This is 6,000 more deaths than expected at this time of year.

Coronavirus cases contributed to the jump with 3,475 death certificates linked to the virus.

ONS official Nick Stripe said it is clear the coronavirus pandemic had upped the trend, saying the rising number of deaths is ‘hugely significant’ given it happened at the start of April.

‘This is not normal,’ he added.

A letter from a concerned UK nurse to the WSWS. 15 April 2020. “I urge employees not to be silenced by ruthless and reckless employers and to stand together and speak out”: here.

6 thoughts on “Coronavirus update, Britain

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