Over 32,000 people have died from the new coronavirus in the United Kingdom, according to the Office for National Statistics, marking the first time in the pandemic that it has led Europe in the number of deaths.
The country has surpassed Italy in COVID-19 deaths. The U.S. still leads the world in the highest number of coronavirus deaths; over 70,270 had died from the disease as of Tuesday.
The number of total deaths recorded in the U.K. is “higher than we would wish, I think is all I can say,” Angela McLean, chief scientific adviser of Ministry of Defence said during the country’s press briefing Tuesday.
McLean also emphasized that deaths in U.K. care homes have been steadily rising and said the trend was something the country “need[s] to get to grips with.”
“I don’t think we’ll get a real verdict on how well countries have done until the pandemic is over,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Tuesday. “And particularly until we have comprehensive international data on all causes of mortality.”
Since different countries collect and report coronavirus data using different methods, the comparisons between regions are not perfect. As more time passes and more tests are conducted and more data comes in, coronavirus death rates will become more precise.
The peak in deaths comes as other European countries, including Italy and Spain, are easing shelter-in-place restrictions, while U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to modify Britain’s orders in the next week.