Coronavirus deaths in the UK might be 54% higher than reported, meaning the grim death toll could be at least 32,000.
The Office for National Statistics found there were 22,300 deaths involving coronavirus in and outside of hospital up to April 17 but registered to April 25.
This is compared to 14,451 reported by the Department of Health for England and Wales at the same time.
The number means the UK death toll could be around 54% higher than the current total of 21,092 – bringing the total number of deaths from the disease to at least 32,000.
The figures explore deaths that happened outside the hospital including care homes and private houses, as well as backdated hospital deaths.
It also includes hidden deaths where Coronavirus is mentioned as a suspected cause of death but the victim has not necessarily tested positive for the disease.
And they do not include Northern Ireland and Scotland so the true number for the UK will be higher.
The statistics also show Covid-19 care home deaths had trebled in the week leading up to April 17 as the killer bug tears through the sector.
In the week up to April 17, 3,096 people died in care homes from the virus – treble the week before when 1,043 deaths were registered.
There were 4,316 deaths outside the hospital from the disease up to April 17, the figures found.
Of these, 3,096 took place in care homes, 883 in private homes, 190 in hospices, 61 in the community, and 86 elsewhere.
The shocking new figures have also revealed more people died in the UK in the week to April 17 than in any other week since 1993 when the records began.
A total of 22,351 people died from all causes – twice the normal amount of 11,854.
Of these, coronavirus was mentioned in 39.2% of deaths in that week, a rise of 6% from the week before.
“CARE HOME TRAGEDY”
Pressure has been mounting on the government to release the number of care home deaths and they have now pledged to provide more reliable data on the number of victims.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday – I asked CQC to make sure that we record the data in care homes specifically, of those who are residents of care homes, whether they die in the hospital or in the care home, and they started collecting that data yesterday and it will be published very shortly.
Some experts believe the true number of coronavirus deaths in care homes could be as high as 7,500.
The Department of Health yesterday confirmed the UK death toll was now at 21,092 after 360 more people lost their lives to the killer disease.
This is the lowest daily increase in deaths in four weeks after 180 people lost their lives on March 30.