In this article for The Spectator, pathologist Dr. John Lee talks about the changes in UK’s death certification which happened early on in the pandemic.
Dr. Lee says that for COVID-19 only, one doctor’s certification is necessary (whereas previous guidelines required two doctors to certify death). Care home providers, many of whom are not medically trained, are also allowed to make a statement to signify that the patient has died of COVID-19.
Dr. Lee says that these changes will have important implications in the way we understand the disease. He goes on to say that there is no real data in the UK of the number of deaths that can be confirmed to be DUE TO COVID-19 [The same issue of recording COVID-19 deaths was found in the US, see This Is How COVID-19 Death Rates In The US Are Manipulated].
Editor’s Note: As more and more countries are discovering that lockdowns are an over-reaction, it has become imperative to look at actual data to be able to build an accurate picture of the real devastation brought about by COVID-19. Unfortunately, in some countries such as the UK and the Philippines, such data is not present, as no data gathering plan was created early on in the pandemic.
As Dr. Lee has mentioned, the lack of adequate data has led to the loss of opportunity to understand the disease. We can only hope that international data will suffice in helping our own governments in making the right decision in the future. But this inadequacy, the errors and tardiness in reporting especially in the Philippines, must be raised to the authorities’ awareness as these have far-reaching policy implications. Data gathering is not just an academic work, but a necessary component of evidence-based practice. It must be prioritized in future epidemic and emergency responses. We cannot keep on relying on international data and generalized scientific models because as we have seen in this pandemic, responses must be custom-fit based on the situation of localities.
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