How has COVID-19 contributed to excess deaths in Northern Ireland?

What are “excess deaths”, and how does the figure for Northern Ireland compare with elsewhere in the UK and across Europe?

[This explainer 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.] Continue reading How has COVID-19 contributed to excess deaths in Northern Ireland?

Did 62 more people contract COVID-19 in care homes, before dying in hospital?

CLAIM: Of the 353 COVID-19 deaths in hospitals in Northern Ireland, 62 people contracted the virus in a care home and were transferred to a hospital before dying.

CONCLUSION: UNSUBSTANTIATED. The death certificates of 62 people who died in hospital mention COVID-19 and give a normal residence address of a care home. However, there is no data to indicate where or when they contracted COVID-19.
Continue reading Did 62 more people contract COVID-19 in care homes, before dying in hospital?

Are COVID-19 deaths in Northern Ireland 50% higher than Ireland?

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”.

Continue reading Are COVID-19 deaths in Northern Ireland 50% higher than Ireland?

It’s all about the test: Counting COVID-19 deaths

“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.]

Continue reading It’s all about the test: Counting COVID-19 deaths

Do families have to give permission for COVID-19 death statistics?

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?