Coronavirus deaths at lowest number since before lockdown, new figures show

James Morris
An ambulance worker is seen beside a London Ambulance outside University College Hospital in London on July 17, 2020. - Boris Johnson said on July 17 he hoped Britain would "return to normality" by November despite being badly affected by the coronavirus and predictions of a second wave of cases during winter months. Johnson announced that to prepare for a possible winter spike in cases the state-run National Health Service (NHS) would receive an extra £3 billion ($3.8 billion, 3.3 million euros). (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Coronavirus deaths in England and Wales are now at their lowest number since before the lockdown was imposed, new figures have shown. (AFP via Getty Images)

Coronavirus deaths in England and Wales are now at their lowest number since before the lockdown was imposed, new figures have shown.

Death registrations involving COVID-19 dropped to 139 in the week ending 14 August, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) report.

This was the lowest figure since the week ending 20 March – some 21 weeks ago and three days before Boris Johnson imposed the nationwide lockdown. That week, 103 deaths involving COVID-19 were registered.

The 139 deaths registered in the week ending 14 August also accounted for just 1.5% of deaths in England and Wales in that period.

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By contrast, at the height of the pandemic in the week ending 17 April, 8,758 deaths involved coronavirus: accounting for 39.2% of all deaths.

However, the decreasing number of COVID death registrations must be viewed in the context of a slowly increasing number of new infections across the UK.

Since 9 August, daily new cases have regularly exceeded 1,000 a day. Up until this date, there hadn’t been more than 1,000 since 26 June.

Meanwhile, there were also fears on Friday that the UK's reproductive number (“R” rate) may have risen above 1.0.

Read more: Boris Johnson to perform U-turn on face masks in schools, claims report

Experts on the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) announced the R estimate across the UK was between 0.9 and 1.1, an increase from the range between 0.8 and 1.0 the week before.

If R is below 1.0, it means that on average, an infected person will infect fewer than one other person, meaning the number of new cases will fall over time. If it is above 1.0, it means the rate of infection is accelerating.

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