DATA ON DEATHS IN CARE HOMES 5/20

Thank you for your email  about the statistics for the number of people who have sadly died as a result of Covid-19. It is vital at this time that the Government continues to update the public with the latest advice and information as regularly as possible, which is why I welcome the daily news conferences, as well as the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care's regular statements in Parliament, ensuring that both the press and other MPs have plenty of opportunities to ask questions and seek further information.

When discussing statistics, it is extremely important that we compare data drawn from comparable and reliable sources. The number of people who have died in hospital settings is being released by the Department of Health and Social Care on a daily basis: I know that the Office of National Statistics and Care Quality Commission are collecting data on a different basis from the NHS, and as such the numbers cannot be reported alongside each other without a number of important caveats.

We must also consider scientific guidance as to how to interpret these statistics. For example, covid-19 is what's known as a notifiable disease, which means that cases and deaths have to be reported. The reported numbers of deaths do not, however, explain whether the virus is the major cause, a contributory factor, or simply present when a patient is dying of something else. I welcome that scientists and researchers are thoroughly exploring the data to increase our understanding of the information, and I will continue to closely follow this issue.