In late September 2020, thanks to my local MP Bill Wiggin, I obtained a reply from the Department for Health and Social Care about Covid-19 and reported death statistics, which said: “Deaths reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are based on the cause of death recorded on death certificates.

“These can include cases where the doctor thought it likely that the person had Covid-19, even when there was no positive test result.”

I replied in early November 2020, raising the question: “Do the ONS statistics identify and quantify those cases “where the doctor thought it likely that the person had Covid-19, even when there was no positive test result?”

“If not, why not? What percentage are those recorded deaths of all the Covid-19 deaths recorded on death certificates?”.

Although I have not yet had a reply, on its website the ONS says: “The coronavirus (Covid-19) has spread across the vast majority of neighbourhoods in England and Wales.

"Our interactive map allows you to see the number of deaths registered in the period March to November 2020, where Covid-19 was the underlying (main) cause on the death certificate.”

Daily government statistics issued by the ONS fail to distinguish between those deaths where Covid-19 was the only cause of death, the primary cause of death (alongside other underlying health conditions) and those where there was no positive Covid-19 test result, although the doctor thought it likely.

According to ONS figures for the area “MSOA Herefordshire 004: Shobdon, Luston and Bodenham”, which includes Leominster, only six Covid-19 related deaths were recorded between March and November 2020.

However, as they stand at the moment, these figures could be potentially misleading (either way) and need to be qualified with immediate effect, to minimise unnecessary public concern and to undermine the scaremongering caused by others with vested interests in capitalising on them.

Kalvin Haley

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