Latest figures show borough's July death rate was lower than in 2019
Deaths in Merton from Covid-19 peaked in the week starting April 11, with 51 deaths.
But what is surprising about this week is that a further 107 non-covid deaths were also recorded, far higher than the weeks surrounding it.
At a council meeting on Tuesday (August 4) Merton’s director of public health, Dagmar Zeuner, said she is still trying to unpack why this could be, but offered an initial explanation.
Between March 29 and July 17 there were a total of 204 deaths of people who had tested positive to coronavirus in the borough.
Dr Zeuner said: “Some of the explanation is most certainly misregistration. You will remember that we didn’t test everybody especially people who died outside of hospital.
“Because Covid can be such a chameleon, particularly with people with other conditions, we think there are quite a few hidden Covid deaths.
“There is something quite alarming and it in a way illustrates that the impact of Covid is not just the direct impact.”
Dr Zeuner added that the latest data also shows that there were fewer deaths overall in July this year compared to the same month in 2019.
She said: “What has happened tragically is that most deaths occurred in older people and those people already had a limited life expectancy and their death was hastened.
“Nevertheless that peak is stark and sobering and we are still working to unpack that more.”
From March 21 to April 10, the three weeks leading to this peak, there were 63 coronavirus and 174 non-coronavirus deaths recorded in Merton.
And between April 18 and May 8, the three weeks following this peak, there were 58 coronavirus and 100 non-coronavirus deaths recorded.
The latest data shows that there have been 967 cases of coronavirus in the borough so far, which is a rate of 468 per 100,000.
By Tara O'Connor, Local Democracy Reporter
August 7, 2020