A post shared hundreds of times on Facebook shows an image that makes a number of claims about the proportion of Covid-19 deaths that took place in care facilities around Europe. The figures it cites are from a report by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) that was published in May. However, not all of the figures the Facebook post cites are correct. The claims made about Scotland are wrong, as are those made about Sweden and France.
The original version of the text in the image may have been a tweet from July 9.
The Facebook post says that 58% of coronavirus deaths in Scotland were in care facilities. This is a misinterpretation of the ECDC report. The report actually says that, as of 17 May 2020, Scotland reported that 58% of care homes for adults (632) had reported at least one suspected case of Covid-19. As of 10 May 2020, it says 45% of all Covid-19 deaths in Scotland (1,438 deaths) had been reported from care homes.
The National Records of Scotland report that, in the most recent data to 19 July 2020, 47% of all Covid-19 deaths registered in Scotland related to deaths in care homes.
The post also incorrectly reports statistics from Sweden. It says that 53% of all Covid-19 deaths in Sweden are from care homes. However, the ECDC report shows that 53% of care homes in Stockholm county which took part in a survey between 12 and 15 April 2020 had reported confirmed Covid-19 cases. The report does not include a breakdown of what proportion of all Swedish deaths are from care homes. However, it does say that 50% of all Covid-19 related deaths amongst over-70s were in long term care facilities.
The Facebook post is also incorrect when it says 66% of deaths in France were in care homes. The ECDC report says 66% of the cases reported by long term care facilities in France were in nursing homes for the elderly. It says 50% of all deaths in France were residents of long term care facilities, but this includes facilities for disabled persons or children and young adults as well as nursing homes for the elderly.
The Facebook post lists the proportion of care home deaths for other countries, including England (21%), Wales (25%), Germany (37%), Spain (66%), Belgium (51%) and Norway (61%). According to data in the ECDC report, these figures are correct. However, none of these figures cover a period time later than mid-May, and these proportions are likely to have changed in the last two months.
The latest data from the Office for National Statistics—featuring deaths that occurred up to 10 July but registered up to 18 July 2020—suggests 30% of Covid-19 deaths in England involved care homes (14,424 of 48,352), and 28% in Wales (692 of 2,489).