Covid death toll increases by almost 3,000 in UK after 'data error' discovered

The number of Covid deaths in the UK now stands at 169,095

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Nearly 3,000 more Covid-19 deaths have been added to the UK’s official figures after the discovery of a data error.

The cumulative number of people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus jumped by an extra 2,714 on Wednesday, in addition to 233 newly-reported deaths.

It means the total number of deaths in the UK within 28 days of a positive test now stands at 169,095.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid
Health Secretary Sajid Javid
Health Secretary Sajid Javid, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak
Health Secretary Sajid Javid, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak

The UK Health Security Agency said that “due to a data processing error, a number of people who died within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test were not reported in a timely manner”.

The 2,714 deaths, all of which have occurred in England this year, were “added retrospectively” to the Government’s coronavirus dashboard on Wednesday evening.

The revision to the figures narrows the gap slightly between the Government’s preferred death toll, based only on people who have died within 28 days of testing positive, and the number of people who have had Covid-19 recorded on their death certificate, which is published by the Office for National Statistics and currently stands at just over 190,000.

Both measures of Covid-19 mortality have shown a small increase in recent weeks in the number of deaths occurring each day in the UK, reflecting the impact of the surge of infections driven by the Omicron BA.2 variant.

The number of deaths per day remains well below levels reached during the first and second waves of the virus, however.