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June 4, 2020 - The United Kingdom has more confirmed coronavirus deaths per million people than any other country. It also has the highest number of excess deaths in Europe, with 59,537 more than usual.
Former UK chief scientific advisor David King believes the high number of UK Covid-19 deaths are the result of government inaction in February and March, a belief shared by Helen Ward of Imperial College London who reasons the country has been been playing catch-up from the start.
Ward cites slowness on testing, tracing and isolating people, and on social distancing – the national lockdown didn't begin until March 23, about two months after the country’s first confirmed case. King thinks the governemnt was focussed on other issues, such as Brexit, at the start of the year and failed to take action quickly enough.
Conservative MP Greg Clark, chair of the House of Commons science and technology committee, describes testing levels as inadequate for most of the pandemic, with the problem stemming from the government’s decision to rely on centralised laboratories run mostly by Public Health England, rather than involving the UK’s many private labs, research institutes and universities.
As of the week ending March 20, the UK has 59,537 more deaths than usual, the highest absolute excess deaths in Europe, with the total number of confirmed Covid-19 deaths second only to the U.S., and still rising by more than 100 per day.
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