What do the latest statistics tell us about Covid-19 deaths?
New figures on the number of deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales have been published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Here are some of the key findings:
– There were 29,710 deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales up to April 24 (and which were registered up to May 2).
This compares with 22,173 deaths of people testing positive for Covid-19 reported by the Department of Health and Social Care for the same period.
The ONS total is 34% higher than the Department of Health total.
This is because the ONS figures include all mentions of Covid-19 on a death certificate, including suspected Covid-19, and are based on the date that deaths occurred.
The Department of Health figures are based on when deaths were reported, and are for deaths where a person has tested positive for Covid-19.
– Of the 29,710 deaths recorded by the ONS, 20,882 (70%) took place in hospitals and 6,820 (23%) were in care homes.
Some 1,434 (5%) occurred in homes and 574 (2%) were in other locations.
There was a peak for deaths in hospitals on April 8 (983 deaths).
The numbers for care homes suggest a peak on April 17 (415 deaths), though not a consistent fall afterwards.
Care homes accounted for 19% of the deaths taking place on April 8 and 37% of deaths on April 17.
– A total of 32,375 deaths involving Covid-19 have now been registered across the UK.
Tuesday’s figures from the ONS showed that 29,710 deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales had been registered up to May 2.
The latest figures from the National Records of Scotland, published last week, showed 2,272 deaths involving Covid-19 had been registered in Scotland up to April 26.
And the latest figures from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, also published last week, showed 393 deaths involving Covid-19 had been registered in Northern Ireland up to April 29.
In each case, the total is based on all mentions of Covid-19 on a death certificate, including suspected Covid-19.
Updated figures from the National Records of Scotland are due to be published on Wednesday.
– The total number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending April 24 2020 was 21,997.
This is 11,539 more deaths than the average for the corresponding week over the previous five years, which is 10,458.
For the week ending April 24, there were a total of 8,237 deaths where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
This means there were around 3,000 “excess” deaths in this particular week that were not linked to Covid-19 on the death certificate.
Excess deaths is considered a more reliable measure for comparing the UK’s experience of Covid-19 with other countries, due to the inconsistent way coronavirus-related deaths are recorded and reported across the world.
Full analysis of excess deaths in 2020 will only be possible once numbers have been adjusted for the latest age distribution of the population and for seasonal variation.