Dominic Raab thinks the UK’s death toll is so high because we’re really good at counting

James Besanvalle
Wednesday 06 May 2020 08:00
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The UK now officially has the most recorded coronavirus-related deaths (29,427) in Europe, surpassing Italy (29,315).

But Dominic Raab believes that’s only because “our own Office of National Statistics is widely acknowledged to be a world leader” in counting.

The 46-year-old foreign secretary made the comments during the daily Covid-19 press briefing on Tuesday evening.

When asked about the UK’s record-breaking death toll in Europe, Raab responded:

In terms of the comparison you're suggesting… I don’t think we’ll get a real verdict on how well countries have done until the pandemic is over and particularly until we’ve got comprehensive international data on all cause of mortality.

Raab claimed the UK publishes a comprehensive list of deaths in different “settings” that not all other countries adhere to:

We now publish data that includes all deaths in all settings and not all countries do that so I’m not sure that the international comparison works unless you reliably know that all countries are measuring in the same way.

And it also depends on how good frankly countries are at gathering their statistics and our own Office for National Statistics is widely acknowledged as a world leader.

The phrasing of Dominic Raab’s answers has sparked criticism on social media, with some saying the government is choosing to "brag" about how good it is at counting:

Some believe the government should own up to their mistakes in its handling the spread of the virus:

The UK population sits at around 66.5 miillion, while Italy’s is around 60million. Italy has also reportedly tested more people than the UK.

Professor David Spiegelhalter from the University of Cambridge said all current statistics are "substantial underestimates" of the true number who have died with the virus, according to the BBC:

We can safely say that none of these countries are doing well, but this is not Eurovision and it is pointless to try and rank them.

At the time of writing, there have been over 195,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and 3.6million worldwide.

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