The ONS statistics reflect cases in which Covid-19 was suspected, as well as those which are confirmed. However, they come with a significant time lag of around 11 days and are likely to continue to rise, experts believe. 

The total number of deaths reported by Public Health England (PHE) in the new figures is approximately 17 per cent higher than previous data showed.

Dr Yvonne Doyle, the medical director at PHE, said: “Every death from Covid-19 is a tragedy. Tracking the daily death count is vital to help us understand the impact of the disease. These more complete data will give us a fuller and more up to date picture of deaths in England and will inform the Government’s approach as we continue to protect the public.

“It will remain the case that ONS data, which publishes every week with figures from 11 days ago, includes suspected coronavirus cases where a test has not taken place. ONS figures will therefore continue to include more deaths than our daily series.”                                        

Helen Whately, the minister for care, said: “I am determined that people living in care homes continue to receive the best care possible during these challenging times. Sadly, this pandemic has already taken many lives, and my heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones before their time.

“Today’s data cannot bring them back, but it can help us to better understand the impact this outbreak is having on those living in care homes so that we can continue to do everything in our power to protect them.”

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