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13 April: Older people 'airbrushed' out of death toll figures, say charities

Many older people are being "airbrushed" out of coronavirus figures in the UK, charities have warned, reports the BBC.

The official death toll has been criticised for only covering people who die in hospital – but not those in care homes or in their own houses. It comes after the government confirmed there had been virus outbreaks at more than 2,000 care homes in England.

On 13 April, the UK's chief medical adviser said he would like "much more extensive testing" in care homes due to the "large numbers of vulnerable people" there.

Prof Chris Whitty told the daily Downing Street coronavirus briefing on that 92 homes in the UK reported outbreaks in one day. The Department of Health and Social Care later confirmed 2,099 care homes in England have so far had cases of the virus.

The figures prompted the charity Age UK to claim coronavirus is "running wild" in care homes for elderly people.

"The current figures are airbrushing older people out like they don't matter," Caroline Abrahams, the charity's director, said.

Matthew Reed, chief executive of charity Marie Curie, previously explained that the lack of PPE and testing "means workers at care homes are not well equipped to support a number of people dying in quick succession".

Care England has estimated there have been nearly 1,000 deaths from coronavirus in care homes, leaving social care as "the neglected front line", according to the letter.

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