Well being Secretary Matt Hancock has referred to as for an pressing evaluation into how coronavirus deaths have been recorded in England.
It follows affirmation from Public Well being England that reported deaths could have included individuals who examined optimistic months earlier than they died.
Different UK nations solely embody those that die inside 28 days of a optimistic check.
Officers say the publication of each day loss of life figures will likely be paused whereas the problem was “resolved”.
A note on the government’s website learn: “At present the each day deaths measure counts all individuals who have examined optimistic for coronavirus and since died, with no cut-off between time of testing and date of loss of life.
“There have been claims that the shortage of cut-off could distort the present each day deaths quantity.”
There have been 40,528 deaths linked to the virus in England.
Prof Carl Heneghan from College of Oxford, who noticed the problem with the information, instructed the BBC there was “enormous variation” within the numbers of each day deaths reported in England by PHE.
Whereas NHS England presently reviews 30-35 deaths per day, Public Well being England (PHE) knowledge typically reveals double that or extra, he mentioned.
The reason being that anybody who has examined optimistic for coronavirus however then died at a later date of one other trigger would nonetheless be included in PHE’s Covid-19 loss of life figures.
“By this PHE definition, nobody with Covid in England is allowed to ever get better from their sickness,” Prof Heneghan says.
“We want right and correct statistics so we are able to actually perceive the development – in any other case it is very tough to know what is going on on,” he added.
Figures launch from PHE at this time present that slightly below 10% of coronavirus deaths in England occurred greater than 28 days after a optimistic check.
In nearly half of these instances, Covid-19 was recorded as the principle reason for loss of life.
What does this imply for England’s virus loss of life toll?
This might clarify why the each day loss of life toll in England has remained greater than in different UK nations.
Scotland, Northern Eire and Wales solely embody deaths of their each day depend if somebody died inside 28 days of a optimistic check.
But it surely does not imply that the majority of England’s coronavirus deaths are counting errors.
Statisticians say it is higher to have a look at loss of life registrations that choose up coronavirus instances that had been by no means confirmed by a lab check.
And whenever you take a look at these figures, or deaths from all causes, England nonetheless has one of many highest deaths tolls in Europe and main developed economies within the pandemic, to this point.
Dr Susan Hopkins, from Public Well being England, mentioned there was no agreed methodology of counting deaths from Covid-19.
“In England, we depend all those who have died who had a optimistic Covid-19 check at any level, to make sure our knowledge is as full as attainable.
“We should do not forget that it is a new and rising an infection and there’s growing proof of long-term well being issues for a few of these affected.”
“Now could be the precise time to evaluation how deaths are calculated,” Dr Hopkins mentioned.
Prof David Spiegelhalter, professor of the general public understanding of danger on the College of Cambridge, has referred to as for a similar methods for gathering knowledge on deaths for use throughout the UK.
There are additionally issues over the influence on a possible second wave.
“As we go into the winter, it’ll get extremely complicated and regarding in case you have a rise in deaths when you are nonetheless counting and mixing deaths from inside the first section,” Prof Heneghan mentioned.
“This implies we is perhaps unable to detect early developments in rising deaths if we put them all the way down to historic deaths because of the inadequacies of the present system.”