Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Science & Tech
  2. Coronavirus
13 May 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Evening summary: The care home crisis

By Samuel Horti

Prime Minister Boris Johnson got both barrels from Labour leader Keir Starmer on care homes earlier today, and the government is still struggling to get a grip on the spread of the virus among care home residents.

Care homes currently account for 40 per cent of all Covid-19 deaths in the UK – in Scotland, the proportion is 57 per cent, new figures showed today. And yet experts believe the death toll is still being underestimated. 

Academics at the London School of Economics say the care home death toll could be as high as 22,000, more than double the government’s official count. The majority of the “excess deaths” in care homes, which are additional deaths compared to what is expected for this time of year, have not been attributed to Covid-19, leaving thousands officially “unexplained”. Dr Jenny Harries, the deputy chief medical officer for England, said this afternoon that it was “very likely” some of those people died with Covid-19, but hadn’t been tested.

To support the sector, the government announced £600m to help care homes better control infections. The money will also help reduce the rotation of staff between residences, allowing care homes without epidemics to protect themselves, the government said.

In other news, unions urged ministers to delay the opening of primary schools, set for 1 June; new data from Scotland highlighted the gulf in death rates between the richest and poorest areas; and the European Union published guidance for member states to help them open their borders for the summer holidays.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Content from our partners
How do we secure the hybrid office?
How materials innovation can help achieve net zero and level-up the UK
Fantastic mental well-being strategies and where to find them