Covid-19: Death rate in Northern Ireland 10 times that of Republic

12 more deaths and 1,648 new cases in North recorded on Tuesday

The Covid-19 death rate in Northern Ireland is more than ten times that of the Republic and one of the highest of any developed country, according to the latest figures from the North's Department of Health.

The health department in its daily afternoon bulletin on Tuesday reported 12 more Covid-19 deaths taking the North’s death toll since the start of the pandemic to 2,323.

There were 55 coronavirus deaths in the past seven days compared with 34 in the previous week.

The department in its daily dashboard also illustrated how Northern Ireland has the highest death rate compared to a list of western countries such as the Republic, the United States and the UK as a whole.


The dashboard features a graph comparing daily death rates based on a seven-day rolling average. It compares Northern Ireland with seven countries – the Republic, the UK, the US, Italy, Japan, South Korea and China.

Its most up-to-date figures are for last Friday, August 20th. The death rate on that date for the North was 0.45 deaths per 100,000 of the population – more than ten times the 0.04 death rate per 100,000 for the Republic.

The figures show that Northern Ireland’s death rate almost doubled over seven days. On Friday, August 13th the death rate was 0.23 deaths per 100,000.

For last Friday the Northern Ireland rate was the highest at 0.45. It was followed by the US at 0.31 per 100,000, with a significant dip thereafter to the UK average at 0.15 followed by Italy at 0.08, Japan at 0.03, South Korea at 0.02 and China at zero.

The department also recorded 1,648 new positive cases of the virus in the North. There were 11,886 positive cases in the past seven days.

Currently there are 373 people being treated for Covid-19 in Northern Ireland hospitals with 41 in intensive care and 26 of them on ventilators.

Hospital bed occupancy is at 103 per cent.

Meanwhile, the North’s Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) confirmed it is investigating comments made in a social media video posting by Derry GP Dr Anne McCloskey, who, although retired, returned to work in April last year to assist colleagues in dealing with the pandemic.

Among the unsubstantiated claims made by Dr McCloskey, a former Aontú councillor in Derry, in the nine-minute video were that many people have been “coerced, bribed or bullied” into being vaccinated and that vaccines were “malevolent”.

Her comments are being investigated both by the HSCB and by Western Urgent Care (WUC), which employs Dr McCloskey.

The HSCB said it had received numerous complaints about the posting from GPs and from members of the public. It said it “takes a very serious view of this” and had ordered an “urgent investigation” about her remarks.

“Patients often turn to GPs as a source of medical advice and GPs must inspire confidence and trust in patients,” the board said.

“We can confirm that the HSCB is carrying out an urgent investigation into the comments/views expressed by Dr McCloskey on social media and WUC is currently progressing with its own separate investigations and internal processes in relation to the matter,” it added.

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty is the former Northern editor of The Irish Times