Published 28 April 2020
Excess deaths in care homes between the 30th of March (week 14) and the 19th of April were 9,600 - higher than the 9,400 in hospitals.*
The majority of excess care home deaths (6,500 of the 9,600) are not attributed to Covid-19, but this is misleading.
Excess deaths at home jumped up in the week of the 30th of March (week 14) by 1,000 (39%) and have only increased a bit over the last two weeks. These are presumably shielded or vulnerable people that are not using hospitals, but perhaps should.
Excess care home deaths not attributed to Covid-19 also jumped on the week of the 30th of March by 1,100 (43%) - marginally higher than the increase at home. These may be genuine non-Covid-19 deaths. But these excess deaths have since carried on increasing at an alarming rate in the past two weeks.
We think that a large portion of the non-Covid-19 deaths in care homes are Covid-19. The reported figures are very dependent on testing in care homes and what is written on death certificates. The trend in overall care home deaths looks very similar to the spread of a disease Covid-19 (an exponential rise).
This is worrying because excess deaths in care homes are still increasing in the ONS data, which is lagged two weeks. This contrasts to hospital deaths from Covid-19 that can be seen flattening out.
Given the scale of known Covid-19 deaths in hospitals and our estimate of Covid-19 deaths in care homes, this may mean peak Covid-19 was later than the 10th of April - perhaps last week.
Without hospital staff, equipment and infection control protocols, care homes are currently hazardous places for both residents and staff. And as we look forward to the relaxation of lockdown measures, it will be essential to continue to protect residents, staff, visitors and to prevent the start of a second wave of Covid-19 infections.
* Average deaths are shown by the dotted lines. For care homes this is 2,134 deaths. For hospitals this is 4,281.