These figures for non-Covid deaths aren’t accurate

4 September 2020
What was claimed

18 people died of Covid-19 in one day in England.

Our verdict

This is true.

What was claimed

1,295 died of a stroke in England in one day.

Our verdict

This is likely not true. Stroke death figures in England are closer to 65 people daily.

What was claimed

1,852 people died in one day in England from a heart attack.

Our verdict

This is likely not true. About 49 people a day die in England of a heart attack.

What was claimed

39 people were murdered in one day in England.

Our verdict

This is likely untrue. We could find no evidence of a recent mass homicide, and on average two people die of homicide each day in England.

A Facebook post that makes claims about the number of non-Covid-19 deaths in a single day has been shared over one thousand times. However, there are numerous inaccuracies with the post. 

Firstly it’s unclear what day these figures are meant to be referring to - the earliest version of the post found by Full Fact comes from the 13 August, but versions of the post in the days and weeks since then continue to use the time phrase “yesterday.” 

The post claims that 18 people died of Covid-19 in one day in England. On 13 August this was the number of deaths reported of people who had tested positive for Covid-19 and died within 28 days. Since then, this figure has generally been decreasing. 

This isn’t the same as the number of people that actually died on that day, the last time there was a day when 18 people died of Covid-19 in England was 17 July.

Also we don’t know how many of these people died of Covid-19 as opposed to with Covid-19, or even after having recovered from it. It should also be noted that Covid-19 is unusual in terms of death reporting, in that it is reported rapidly. Other causes of death are not typically reported as quickly, so the post’s claim that they knew the number of non-Covid deaths ‘yesterday’ is highly improbable.

The post claims that 1,295 died of a stroke in England in one day. This is very likely incorrect. Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows that in 2019, 23,776 people were classified to have died of a stroke, which would average about 65 a day. This is far fewer than the figure claimed in the post. 

(This figure includes deaths under codes I60-I64 as defined in the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Diseases. Some definitions of death from a stroke also include “transient cerebral ischaemic attacks”, which resulted in 30 deaths in England in 2019.)

The post claims that 1,852 people died in one day in England from a heart attack. This is likely a huge exaggeration. ONS data recorded 18,022 deaths from heart attacks in England in 2019, recorded in data as an “acute myocardial infarction”. This does not include all heart-disease related deaths. This averages as about 49 people a day, again a hugely different figure to the number given in the post.

The post claims that 39 people were murdered in one day in England. Again, this is likely an exaggeration. According to the ONS, in the year ending March 2019, there were 661 victims of homicide in England —this definition includes murder, manslaughter, and infanticide. This works out to about two a day. 

Furthermore, there have not been any recent reported instances in England of mass homicide which could explain such a high number of deaths in one day.

Correction 14 October 2020

Correction: An earlier version of this article said that 12,653 people died of a stroke in England in 2019. This only included people who died of a stroke where it was not specified whether the stroke was caused by a haemorrhage or an infarction (tissue death resulting from a failure of blood supply).

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false because these figures are generally incorrect

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