Britain Emerge As New COVID-19 Epicentre With More Than 29000 Deaths!


  • Britain became the first European country to surpass Italy as the news epicenter.
  • The country is under lockdown and affected are monitored by mobile apps.
  • Critics alleged that the government responded too slowly when COVID-19 began to spread.
  • They had failed to contain the outbreak by not widely testing people with symptoms.
  • Also they failed to trace and isolate the contacts of those infected.

According to an article published in Time, Britain became the first country in Europe to confirm more than 30,000 coronavirus deaths.

Britain surpasses Italy as the new epicenter

Britain appeared set to surpass Italy as Europe’s hardest-hit nation. The government said about 28,700 people with COVID-19 had died in hospitals, nursing homes, and other settings, while Italy reported close to 29,100 fatalities. Both figures are almost certainly underestimated because they include only people who tested positive, and testing was not widespread in Italian and British nursing homes until recently.

Yet official British statistics released Tuesday on people who died with suspected COVID-19 put the country’s toll at more than 30,000 as of April 24, or one-third higher than the government count at the time.

In Britain, which unlike other European nations remains in lockdown, a trial began Tuesday of a mobile phone app that authorities hope will help contain the outbreak. The app, which warns people if they have been near an infected individual, is being tested on the Isle of Wight, off England’s southern coast. The government hopes it can be rolled out across the country later this month.

Is the government too slow to respond?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to soon detail a route out of the nationwide lockdown that began March 23 and runs through Thursday. Critics say Johnson’s Conservative government responded too slowly when COVID-19 began to spread, failed to contain the outbreak by not widely testing people with symptoms, then failed to trace and isolate the contacts of those infected.

Countries that did that, including South Korea and Germany, have recorded much lower death rates than those that did not.

The British government’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, acknowledged that if we’d managed to ramp up testing capacity quicker it would have been beneficial.”

Reasons for the UK overtaking Italy in death tolls

Population sizes

For a start, the UK’s population is roughly 66 million, and Italy’s is about 60 million.

So the UK would have to register at least 10% more deaths than Italy for it to have a higher death rate per person.

The two countries may not be counting the same way

The different ways different countries count deaths also need to be considered.

Every country measures deaths in a different way, the UK government’s chief medical adviser Chris Whitty said at one daily briefing, so comparing them to each other is a largely fruitless exercise.

On the face of it, Italy and the UK now do it in fairly similar ways – only including confirmed Covid-19 cases in their cumulative daily counts.


Given that the daily figures released by both governments are for people who have died after testing positive for coronavirus, how much testing is going on is clearly important.

To use an extreme example, if neither country had tested any people at all, nobody would have died after testing positive. On the other hand, if everybody in the country had been tested the deaths figure would have been much higher.

The UK is currently testing more people per day than Italy, but overall Italy, which has been in lockdown longer, has carried out more than 2.2 million tests as of 5 May while the UK has done over 1.3 million.

What is the age and health of the population?

The most useful comparison to make between two countries looks at the total number of deaths from all causes adjusted for age.

Why would you adjust for age?

We know that coronavirus affects older people more severely than younger people. Older people are much more likely to have the underlying health conditions that make coronavirus so much more dangerous.

In the UK for example, in the week to 24 April, we know that coronavirus killed:

  • Four per 100,000 people under the age of 75
  • 75 per 100,000 of the 75-84 group
  • 242 per 100,000 people over 85

Italy has a higher proportion of older people and a smaller proportion of children (who are much less likely to be severely affected) so, if all other factors were equal, you would expect more coronavirus deaths in Italy than the UK.

What about population density and other factors?

Overall, the UK is considerably more densely populated, with about 275 people per sq km compared with about 205 in Italy.

And the most crowded part of the UK is London, which is Europe’s largest and most global city. It’s hardly surprising that it has been one of the epicenters of this outbreak.

But if we compare London (population roughly nine million) with Lombardy (population roughly 10 million), which has been the worst-hit region of Italy, we see just how bad things have been in specific areas of northern Italy.

Figures from the Italian statistics agency IStat show that deaths in Lombardy during March 2020 were 186.5% above the five-year average for that time of year, but in the province around the city of Bergamo, they were 567.6% above the average.

That helps explain why the shocking scenes of overcrowding that were seen in some Italian hospitals have not been replicated in London hospitals.

Did you subscribe to our daily newsletter?

It’s Free! Click here to Subscribe!

Source: Time & BBC


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.