Hundreds of secret Merseyside deaths during coronavirus pandemic

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Hundreds more people in Merseyside have died during the coronavirus pandemic than has been officially reported.

Figures from Liverpool Council's Public Health team show that while official figures for the region recorded 777 coronavirus deaths between March 21 and April 24, there have been hundreds more excess deaths in that same period.

During this timeframe, the number of deaths which occured in Merseyside was almost twice the average number of deaths, with 2,243 actual registered deaths against an anticipated seasonal average of 1,170 expected.

The data has been analysed by Liverpool Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Richard Kemp, who leads on health and social care for the Local Government Association.

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He said: "A standard way of checking the progress of deaths in pandemics or epidemics is to look not just at those cases which are ascribed to the pandemic but which relate to all deaths and so map the total effect of the pandemic.

"Of the total 777 are registered as Covid deaths, which means an unexplained number of 296 extra deaths.

"This is particularly surprising when the weather has been so glorious which normally reduces the death rate.

"There have also been drops in other causes of death such as road traffic collisions."

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Cllr Kemp added: "It is vital that we understand the nature of these deaths.

"Global and UK evidence is showing that a number of cases where Covid-19 was not suspected of being a cause of death were found to have been the probable cause of death after post-mortems have been held.

"Other causes are possible. For example there is some evidence that people are either scared of going to hospital because of the infections there or don’t want to trouble the NHS are busy.

Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Richard Kemp

"Without an understanding of why these shocking excess deaths are occurring we cannot adequately at a local level plan to deal with these causes or effectively plan measures to safely release us from the lockdown."

Cllr Kemp and others are now calling for these excess deaths to be reviewed and explained and for the creation of a heat or location map to show were infections have occurred.

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He added: "We cannot move to a trace and contain policy effectively on the information that we currently have.

"It also shows why the Government have belatedly been forced to give the full figures daily with the number of deaths in care homes being approximately 4 times the expected volume on Merseyside."

Merseyside death data

-Between March 21 and April 24, 2243 deaths were registered on Merseyside compared to 1170 expected – a 1.9 fold increase

-Of the 2243 deaths, 777 were recorded as Covid-19 and 1466 were not

– When Covid deaths are excluded, the death rate is still much higher than expected for this period – by 296 deaths

– In this period, 636 deaths occurec in care homes on Merseyside compared to 222 expected – a 2.9 fold increase

Just 153 of these care home deaths have been registered as Covid-19 deaths

This leaves 261 excess deaths in care homes for this period in Merseyside

Care homes

On the excess care home deaths, Cllr Kemp said: "This means there were 261 excess deaths in care homes over the 4 week period which could have been due to people who died from COVID but weren’t tested or who died from complications due to other conditions which were not treated because of the virus.

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"Deaths over and above seasonal averages that are not registered as COVID-19 deaths may have been directly or indirectly caused by the virus.

"This includes people who died at home or in care homes and were not tested for the virus or those who died from non-coronavirus conditions because they were unable to get treatment. In 2018 there were 15,206 deaths on Merseyside (around 292 a week) and around a fifth of those occurred in care homes.

"This means there were 296 excess deaths over the 4 week period which could have been due to people who died from COVID but weren’t tested (including people in care homes) or those who died from complications due to other conditions because they were unable to get treatment."

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