The United Kingdom on May 6 surpassed Italy to record the most number of Covid-19-related deaths in Europe and became the country with the second-highest number of deaths globally after the United States.
According to the Johns Hopkins database, the UK reported a total of 207,977 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and witnessed 30,689 deaths at one of the highest mortality rates of 14.75 per cent at last count on May 7.
At the same time, the overall recoveries have remained negligible and, therefore, a cause of concern for the country. At a mere 0.46 per cent, the UK has registered the worst recovery rate among the top 10 worst-affected countries in Europe. Only Netherlands, which has recorded a fifth of the total confirmed cases in the UK, has a worse recovery rate than the UK among these countries.
In absolute numbers, only 970 of the total 207, 977 Covid-19 patients have recovered from the infection, including the Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself, as on May 7.
Many countries have recently revised their Covid-19 numbers, particularly the death toll. For instance, China revised its death toll for Hubei province, the epicentre of the SARS-COV-2 virus, by over 40 per cent or nearly 1,300 deaths on April 17, after countries such as the US raised doubts over China’s reported figures.
However, this was not limited to China. Other countries including the US, Italy, Spain, and the UK too said that the real figures could be much higher than the actual reported deaths and cases.
For the most part of the past couple of months, the UK death toll, too, had remained underestimated as the country did not include deaths at nursing homes and private residences into its official count.
In mid-April, the Office for National Statistics said that the actual death toll in the UK could be at least 15 per cent higher than the reported figures due to the same reason.
It was only last week on April 29 that the country revised its methodology and started including deaths at nursing homes and private residences in daily updates. It also revised its total death toll to reflect such deaths since the start of the outbreak.
As the pandemic continues to unfold, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that many other countries may need to revise their Covid-19 numbers eventually.
Like several other countries, which now are counted amongst the worst-affected, the UK too had failed to take significant measures in the initial stages of the outbreak.
The country had confirmed its first couple of cases on January 31 after which it took an entire month before the country passed the 100 cases on March 3.
In the meantime, experts and officials said that the country did not have a concrete strategy to combat the virus. This lead to delays in purchasing essential equipment and tests, uncertain messages about public health practices, and a delay in implementing social distancing measure and other restrictions.
The country reported its first Covid-19-related casualty on March 6. The number breached the 100 cases-mark in less than two weeks and continued to grow further.
Cases began to grow at a rapid pace from mid-March onwards but still remained much lower than neighbouring countries like Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and even Switzerland by the end of March.
A poor early response meant resulted in confirmed cases crossing the 100,000 mark by mid-April, while total deaths were in excess of 15,000. Both of these have almost doubled since then. Amid all this, the recovery rate has continued to remain at an abysmal 970.
What’s worse is that most of these recoveries have been reported in British territories overseas, a fact that does not reflect in overall figures.
Roughly 65 per cent or 626 of the total 970 recoveries in the UK have been reported in its overseas territories or other dependent islands and territories, even as they account for a mere 0.6 per cent of the total recorded cases.
In the case of mainland UK, there has not been any recovery in the past 20 days, according to the Johns Hopkins database.
As its neighbouring countries inch towards improving their numbers with a decline in new cases, deaths, and a rise in overall recoveries, the UK has a lot that needs to be taken care of in the coming days as far as the outbreak is concerned.