Saturday, 19 Sep 2020

Bodies of people who died alone in lockdown weren't found for two weeks

Dozens of people have died alone at home due to coronavirus lockdown, with some not being discovered for up to two weeks.

Doctors in London believe several dozen people were found dead at home between March and May, their bodies lying undetected for so long they had started to decompose, according to The Guardian.

The head of the Royal College of GPs, Professor Martin Marshall, told the paper these deaths could be linked to the lockdown banning people from visiting each other and pushing people to avoid necessary NHS care.

‘The Covid-19 pandemic is also creating an epidemic of loneliness, not just for older people, and sadly there are some people who will fall through the net,’ he said.

‘GPs are working hard to check on their patients who are shielding, and the NHS volunteers have been doing a good job of looking after vulnerable people in their communities.

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‘But we are noticing an increase in people dying in the community, often at home and often due to conditions unrelated to Covid-19, such as cardiac arrest.

‘If people are choosing not to seek medical attention for non-Covid illnesses for fear of catching the virus, or because they are worried about being a burden on the NHS, then it is incredibly concerning.’

It is not yet known exactly how many people have died at home during lockdown but all such cases are referred to local coroners upon discovery, with inquests taking place over the coming months.

Often, people have only been discovered after a relative, friend or neighbour – unable to visit due to social distancing rules – raised the alarm with the NHS.

Campaigners argue the tragic phenomenon highlights the vulnerability of isolated older people living on their own with little family support as well as the risks to those who have avoided hospitals and GP surgeries in recent months through fear of coronavirus.

Some of those found were established to have died as a result of coronavirus, Dr Mike Osborn, a senior pathologist in London said.

‘We always feared that a number of older people would be found dead alone at home, either victims of the virus or of something else, and it is extremely sad to find that this is indeed the case,’ Caroline Abrahams, the charity director of Age UK, told The Guardian.

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