Daily Covid death figures to be scrapped as ‘we learn to live’ with virus – Evening Standard

oris Johnson is reportedly planning to stop daily Covid-19 death updates as part of the UK “learning to live” with the virus.
Daily updates showing the latest Covid cases and deaths have become part of the routine living in a pandemic allowing the public access to the latest trends.
But Downing Street is planning on scrapping the practice as soon as mid-April after some backbench MPs said the constant updates were creating a “fear factor” in the UK.
A senior Whitehall source familiar with the plans told i newspaper: “The Prime Minister has pencilled in Easter as the latest date by which the daily Covid statistics will be published in their current form.
“In an ideal situation he will bring an end to them sooner if the current downward trend in deaths continues.”
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Tuesday’s Covid figures
Any decision taken by Downing Street will apply only to England which would still give a weekly update from the Office for National Statistics.
A spokesman for UKHSA said it would keep the public “up-to-date with any future changes to the dashboard and reporting”.
Plans to halt the updates have been on the cards for awhile after former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith complained the figures lead to “irrational” decision-making by the public.
“It feeds the whole fear factor,” he told the Daily Mail in June 2021 and called for Downing Street to “stop it now”.
It came as Covid-19 reinfections have been included in the Government’s daily figures for the first time on Tuesday.
Paul Hunter, professor of health protection at the University of East Anglia, said the growing number of reinfections since the emergence of the Omicron variant meant not reporting them in the official figures was “no longer tenable”.
“Although the proportion of all infections that are due to reinfection is still relatively small, this proportion is increasing, and we can expect this to grow,” he said.
“So far, the addition of reinfections have not much changed estimates of the speed of increase or decrease in the epidemic over recent weeks.
“Fortunately, reinfections are usually, though not always, less severe than primary infections and consequently we can expect the severity of Covid to decrease further as more and more of the daily infections are reinfections.”
A total of 180,662 deaths have occurred in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, the ONS said.
The highest number on a single day was 1,485 on January 19 2021.
During the first wave of the virus, the daily toll peaked at 1,461 on April 8 2020.
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