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U.K. May Scrap Coronavirus Daily Death Toll After Experts Find Officials ‘Over-Exaggerating’ Count, Report Alleges
Health Secretary Matt Hancock delivers a speech on the future of the NHS at the Royal College of Physicians in central London.
Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images

The United Kingdom may scrap its official daily coronavirus death toll counter after a review by Oxford University experts of how the deaths were counted reportedly found that results were being “over-exaggerated.”

“The conclusions of the review, which was ordered by Matt Hancock after it emerged officials were ‘over-exaggerating’ deaths from the virus, are expected this week,” The Telegraph reported. “One expected recommendation would be to stop daily reporting altogether and move to a weekly official death toll instead, a government source said on Sunday night.”

Matt Hancock, the U.K.’s Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, requested an investigation into Public Health England’s handling of the daily count.

“It came after Oxford University experts revealed a significant proportion of the daily out-of-hospital death toll relates to patients who recovered from the virus weeks or months earlier,” The Telegraph reported. “Under the previous system, anyone who has ever tested positive for the virus in England was automatically counted as a coronavirus death when they died, even if the death was from a car accident.”

Not every part of the U.K. had been following the same approach as Scotland and Wales, both of which had a 28-day cut off period after a patient tested positive for the coronavirus. After that time period had passed, the patient, if they died, “is not automatically considered to have died from the virus,” Reuters reported. “Britain, one of the countries hardest hit by the virus, reported more than 1,000 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday, its highest daily increase since June, taking the total number of cases past 310,000.”

One possible solution that is being considered is moving to a weekly official death toll instead of a daily death toll.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was hospitalized with the coronavirus, was warned by his top advisers earlier this year that the Chinese Communist Party had been lying about the extent of the outbreak that originated in their country.

“Mr Johnson has been warned by scientific advisers that China’s officially declared statistics on the number of cases of coronavirus could be ‘downplayed by a factor of 15 to 40 times,’” the Daily Mail reported. “And [the British government] believes China is seeking to build its economic power during the pandemic with ‘predatory offers of help’ [to] countries around the world.’”

Top U.K. officials were reportedly furious that China tried to falsely blame the United States for the outbreak.

“There is a disgusting disinformation campaign going on and it is unacceptable,” one source told The Mail. “They [the Chinese government] know they have got this badly wrong and rather than owning it they are spreading lies.”

Another government source told The Mail that when it came to the U.K.’s relationship with China that it was “going to be back to the diplomatic drawing board after this. Rethink is an understatement.”

“There has to be a reckoning when this is over,” another source said.

A fourth source said the British publication, “The anger goes right to the top.”

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