Would these people be dying anyway?
what is not clear – because the modellers did not map this – is to what extent the deaths would have happened without coronavirus.
Of course, this will never truly be known until the pandemic is over, which is why modelling is very difficult and needs caveats.But given that the old and frail are the most vulnerable, would these people be dying anyway?
Every year more than 500,000 people die in England and Wales: factor in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the figure tops 600,000.The coronavirus deaths will not be on top of this. Many would be within this “normal” number of expected deaths. In short, they would have died anyway.
It was a point conceded by Sir Patrick at a press conference on Thursday when he said there would be “some overlap” between coronavirus deaths and expected deaths
– he just did not know how much of an overlap.Is coronavirus causing the deaths?
The death figures being reported daily are hospital cases where a person dies with the coronavirus infection in their body - because it is a notifiable disease cases have to be reported.
But what the figures do not tell us is to what extent the virus is causing the death.It could be the major cause, a contributory factor or simply present when they are dying of something else.
Now, it is hoped the lockdown will limit deaths to 20,000.But that does not mean 480,000 lives are being saved - many will die whether or not they get the virus.
Every year, about 600,000 people in the UK die. And the frail and elderly are most at risk, just as they are if they have coronavirus.Nearly 10% of people aged over 80 will die in the next year, Prof Sir David Spiegelhalter, at the University of Cambridge, points out, and the risk of them dying if infected with coronavirus is almost exactly the same."Many people who die of Covid [the disease caused by coronavirus] would have died anyway within a short period," he says.
Knowing exactly how many is impossible to tell at this stage.Prof Neil Ferguson, the lead modeller at Imperial College London, has suggested it could be up to two-thirds.https://www.bbc.com/news/health-51979654