Is Britain Undercounting the Impact of the Coronavirus?

According to new statistics, the death toll in the UK could be higher than previously estimated. The reason for this could be the calculations of deaths in nursing homes and private residences.




19. JANUARY 2020



As Britain closes in on 100,000 reported cases of the coronavirus new statistics of the government’s office of National Statistics estimates the death toll of the coronavirus to be 10% higher than officially communicated. The official number of 12.107 deaths is not taking into account the people dying in nursing homes and their own residencies.

Meanwhile, the Office for Budget Responsibility argues that Britain’s economy could shrink by 35% in the second quarter. In addition to that, millions of people could lose their job.

Mr. Sunak, the chancellor of the Exchequer, did not dismiss these estimations but argues that the economy could bounce back quickly when the lockdown was lifted. This stands in stark contrast to the believe of many economists. Simon Tilfor, Research Director at the Forum New Economy, is quoted as follows in the New York Times:

“‘I don’t buy that the U.K. is going to recover as strongly as the O.B.R. data would suggest,’ said Simon Tilford, director of research at Forum New Economy, an economic research institute. ‘It assumes that a shock of this magnitude is not going to do any lasting damage to the economy.’

Making up for lost consumption, particularly in the services sector, would be difficult, said Mr. Tilford, who described the long-term projections as overly optimistic. The report assumes that it is ‘possible to put the economy into deep freeze and for it to jump straight back to life,’ he added.

The full article of the New York Times is here: Is Britain Undercounting the Human and Economic Toll of Coronavirus?



The Corona pandemic poses new kinds of challenges for global economic and social policy making and has further intensified an already existing need for action. Economists are working hard on mitigating the economic effects.