The way ‘Covid deaths’ are being counted is a national scandal

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Summary: 

Normally, two doctors are needed to certify a death, one of whom has been treating the patient or who knows them and has seen them recently. That has changed. For Covid-19 only, the certification can be made by a single doctor, and there is no requirement for them to have examined, or even met, the patient. A video-link consultation in the four weeks prior to death is now felt to be sufficient for death to be attributed to Covid-19. For deaths in care homes the situation is even more extraordinary. Care home providers, most of whom are not medically trained, may make a statement to the effect that a patient has died of Covid-19. In the words of the Office for National Statistics, this ‘may or may not correspond to a medical diagnosis or test result, or be reflected in the death certification’. From 29 March the numbers of ‘Covid deaths’ have included all cases where Covid-19 was simply mentioned on the death certificate — irrespective of positive testing and whether or not it may have been incidental to, or directly responsible for, death. From 29 April the numbers include the care home cases simply considered likely to be Covid-19.

Date: 
Thursday, May 28, 2020