A widely shared tweet by Gabriel Scally on Wednesday 22 April draws attention to an Irish Times article about the difference in relative COVID-19 death rates across the island of Ireland, and claims that “the death rate for #COVID19 deaths in hospital (and for all COVID deaths) is 50% higher in Northern Ireland”.
It’s all about the test: Counting COVID-19 deaths
by Allan LEONARD for FactCheckNI
14 April 2020
“The figures on deaths relate in almost all cases to patients who have died in hospital and who have tested positive for COVID-19. Slight differences in reporting in devolved administrations may mean that they include a small number of deaths outside hospital.” — Department of Health and Social Care (UK)
[This article is part of the COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project — a partnership between Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and FactCheckNI. Its aim is to improve people’s health literacy about COVID-19 by providing accurate and up-to-date information which will increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions.]
CLAIM: The Department of Health (England) needs the consent of families to release information of deceased relatives.
CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. While there has been a change in the timing of reporting of official statistics regarding the impact of COVID-19, there is no suggestion that family consent has any role in the registration of deaths or their statistical reporting. In Northern Ireland, the Public Health Agency has stated that all deaths are a matter of public record. Continue reading Do families have to give permission for COVID-19 death statistics?