You asked

​The way Covid-19 deaths are recorded recently changed: it was any death within 28 days of a positive test; now it is any death within 60 days. Naturally this leads to incomparable death statistics and gives the unaware a false picture. Could you provide any official reasoning as to why the change has taken place, including documents wherein the change was authorised?

We said

​Thank you for your email.

The mortality data published by ONS are derived from the formal process of death registration. Deaths from COVID-19 may include cases where the doctor completing the death certificate diagnosed possible cases of COVID-19, for example, where this was based on relevant symptoms but no test for the virus was conducted. This differs to the data published on the website, which are counts of all causes of deaths where a positive test for COVID-19 has been confirmed.

Your request would therefore be better placed with Public Health England (PHE), as they are responsible for the data published on They can be contacted via email at

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