So, what’s the death rate in a care home anyway?
The number of care home residents who have died of suspected coronavirus may have reached 7,500, according to the latest estimate, The Telegraph has learned.
New data collated by Care England, the country’s largest representative body for care homes, suggests the number of deaths from Covid-19 is far higher than its previous estimate of 1,400 from earlier this week.
The number is also far in advance of the official figure from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which has recorded 217 care home deaths from the virus up to April 3 – the most recent date for which official data is available.
The actual important thing we want to know being “Are extra people dying or not?”
Or, in other phrasings, is the death rate higher than normal? Would those dying of – note of, not just with – covid-19 have died of whatever influenza or pneumonia was passing by this year anyway?
My best guess – my guesses not being a guide to policy – is that yes, more deaths, death rate is up, it’s not just those who would have died soon anyway. But some of it is. And that is important for policy purposes. For what matters to decision making is what is the extra amount of deaths that can be avoided by lockdowns etc.
Thus to know about care homes we need, at least, to know how many die in a normal winter/spring and deduct that from our total deaths to see what the specific effect is.
My guess being that 7,000 care home deaths from ‘flu over a winter is pretty normal. Perhaps a bad season then.