May 12, 2020
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Chart Comparing Global Covid Deaths Dropped From Daily No. 10 Briefing
Downing Street has stopped publishing graphs which compare the UK Coronavirus death toll to the total in other countries.
The grim slides in recent weeks have repeatedly underlined that the country has the largest number of deaths in Europe. Government advisers usually discuss the graphic at the daily televised press conference.  
The graphs have been dropped, a government spokesperson told HuffPost UK, because Number 10 wanted to vary the “content and format” of data and that it was “difficult to compare statistics across countries”.
The most up-to-date figures on Tuesday showed that 32,692 people in the UK have lost their lives to the disease, after deaths in hospitals, care homes and the community were included.
For Italy, Spain, France and Germany, the national figure stands at 30,911, 26,920, 26,643 and 7,667 respectively. America, meanwhile, has recorded a total of 81,779 deaths. 
Charts making clear the difference to the public were compiled and published by Downing Street on a daily basis, but they last appeared on Saturday. 
A government spokesperson said: “Since introducing slides, we have varied the content and format.“As we made clear in the slides, it’s difficult to compare statistics across countries. Countries report deaths in different ways so it is not possible to make like-for-like comparisons. “Numerous experts have said that reliable international comparisons won’t be possible until further along in the pandemic.” The decision follows a torrent of criticism over prime minister Boris Johnson’s response to Covid-19 - but some say international comparisons are unfair. 
Labour leader Keir Starmer and other opposition MPs have been piling pressure on the government over its record on coronavirus deaths. 
Taking the PM to task last week, Starmer said: “The argument that international comparisons cannot be made, when the government have for weeks been using slides such as the one I am holding to make international comparisons, really does not hold water.”
Lib Dem acting leader Ed Davey told HuffPost UK: “The government has rightly committed to transparency through the coronavirus crisis and the daily press conferences have become very positive and an important tool for informing the public.
“So it is concerning that the government seem to be moving away from international comparisons in the data they show.
“Whilst international comparisons can be difficult to analyse, they provide an important benchmark on where the country is in the fight against the virus.”
Statistician and Cambridge University professor David Spiegelhalter, meanwhile, said on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that while it was “completely fatuous to do a sort of Eurovision between who’s the worst in Europe” when age distribution and other factors varied between countries, international comparisons have value. 
He said “when you see really massive differences between countries then it is really worth trying to investigate why”, adding it was “important to note that we [are] way above in terms of their mortality above a group like Germany, Austria, Portugal, Denmark, Norway who have low fatality rates.” 
But health chiefs have said the public should focus on the total excess deaths rate closer to the end of the pandemic. 
Ian Diamond, UK national statistician for the ONS, said earlier this month: “Making international comparisons is an unbelievably difficult thing to do.”Yvonne Doyle, director of health protection at Public Health England, has also previously said “countries measure in very different ways”. Chief medical officer Chris Whitty also said at a previous press conference said international comparisons should be treated with “extreme caution”.Related... Coronavirus Has Left Casual Workers Most Exposed. Now The Government Could Get Sued Rishi Sunak Extends Coronavirus Furlough Scheme To End Of October 'Give Parents The Option': Will You Be Fined For Keeping Your Kids Off School?
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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

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