The government will introduce a new system for reporting data on COVID-19 deaths across all settings on a daily basis, from today.
The news follows weeks of widespread criticism that official figures are failing to reflect the impact of the virus on adult social care.
Currently, only deaths occurring in hospitals in England due to COVID-19 have been included in the data.
But from this afternoon, the daily count from Public Health England will show the total number of deaths for anyone with a positive test across all settings, including in care homes or in the community.
Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales already report out-of-hospital deaths.
The new system links positive test results in labs with the central NHS Digital patient record of all deaths for the first time.
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) and the CQC have also set out a more up to date assessment of deaths, specifically in care homes, drawing on existing death registration data from ONS, but also adding in new data from CQC notification processes.
The ONS and CQC’s weekly series includes data with a time lag of up to 11 days, and counts suspected cases of coronavirus as denoted on death certificates.
Today’s data will be accurate as of yesterday, and will only include those cases confirmed through testing.
The news will be welcomed by social care leaders who have called for the prompt and accurate reporting of all deaths from COVID-19.
Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board said last week that this will give council and social care staff “full confidence and transparency” in these figures as part of their plan to defeat the deadly virus.
Age UK director Caroline Abrahams also warned that older people are being “airbrushed” out of coronavirus figures in the UK like “they don’t matter”.