Coronavirus Live News: The latest update today as the death toll in the UK reaches 35

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Why does the UK mortality rate seem to be above average?

For anyone wondering why the mortality rate in the UK seems unusually high …

It is currently essentially impossible to calculate the mortality rate using the official UK figures. This is because the government has already decided not to pursue every suspected case.

Instead, the tests were limited to hospital patients.

People with mild symptoms – persistent cough or fever – were instructed to voluntarily isolate themselves for seven days.

The official NHS advice is, “If you have a new persistent cough or high temperature, you should stay at home for 7 days.”

As the UK government does not test every case, the mortality rate cannot be determined by dividing the number of positive cases by the number of deaths.

However, chief physician Professor Chris Whitty has repeatedly said the government’s analysis suggests that the overall mortality rate is either one percent or less.

“Overall mortality is, in our view, one percent or less overall, although it is higher in older and vulnerable groups,” Whitty said Thursday.

Figures from South Korea, which has the most extensive per capita tests in the world, appear to support this analysis.

The mortality rate in South Korea is currently just under one percent if you divide the number of positive cases by the total number of deaths in the country – although even you may not have tested every single case.

As our health correspondent Shaun Lintern said, the growing number of deaths will be worrying, but it is unlikely to reflect the overall actual rate.

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