PHOTO FILES: Blood samples from patients infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) prepared for analysis at the Blood Processing Laboratory at the Cambridge Institute of Immunology Therapy and Infectious Diseases, Cambridge, England May 21, 2020. Kirsty Wigglesworth / Pool through REUTERS / Photo File
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Saturday that it was stopping the daily renewal of the number of victims of coronavirus after the government ordered a review into the calculation of data related to concerns the number of victims might have been exaggerated.
Academics have said the way Public Health England (PHE), the government agency responsible for managing infectious diseases, calculating numbers in the UK means they can be distorted compared to other parts of the UK.
“Currently the daily mortality measure counts all people who have tested positive for corona virus and since death, indefinitely between testing and date of death,” a message on the government website said.
“There are claims that the lack of cut-off can change the current daily mortality rate. Therefore we stop publishing daily figures while this is resolved. ”
The UK has become the hardest hit European country, with an official death toll of more than 45,000. But the government says international comparisons are misleading because countries record deaths from the corona virus differently.
Health Minister Matt Hancock on Friday ordered a review into PHE reporting after academics said patients who tested positive for the coronavirus, but were successfully treated, would still be counted dead from the virus “even if they had a heart attack or were hit by a bus three months later” .
Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Ros Russell