UK was actually ‘average’ for Covid deaths during pandemic compared globally

In the eyes of the world’s media, The UK was dubbed a “Plague Island” back in 2020, following reports of high Covid death rates and a more transmissible variant doing the rounds.

The New York Times gave the unfortunate nickname to Britain, as the then-called Kent variant spread rapidly through the UK.

However, data reports later showed that the UK got surveillance right while the rest of the world had it wrong.

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Britain’s data suggested the country’s death toll was among the highest in the developed world. 

Later, emerging data from all over the world showed that the UK was simply better at counting its deaths than most countries.

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Once the dust had settled, Britain was “in the middle of the pack for pandemic mortality”, the Financial Times reported.

The new perspective showed the country had always been faring better than the initial data suggested.

It wasn’t the case of Britain doing badly and then things improving.

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Meaghan Kall, an epidemiologist at the UK Health Security Agency, took to X, previously known as Twitter, to highlight how this “excellent” surveillance is “bittersweet”.

She penned: “Thinking about how at the start of the pandemic the UK had more deaths per capita compared to other countries.

“But it turned out we just counted them accurately in real-time, and eventually the rest of the world’s data came in and the UK was average.”

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