What the latest figures tell us about UK Covid-19 deaths

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published its latest data for the number of deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales.

Here are five things the figures tell us about the situation across the whole of the UK.

– There have been more than 64,400 excess deaths in the UK since the outbreak began

The number of excess deaths in the UK since the coronavirus outbreak began has passed 64,000.

Tuesday’s figures from the ONS show there were 58,693 excess deaths in England and Wales between March 21 and June 5 2020.

Data published last week by the National Records of Scotland found there were 4,769 excess deaths in Scotland between March 23 and June 7, while the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency put the figure for Northern Ireland at 940 excess deaths between March 21 and June 5.

Together, this means the total number of excess deaths in the UK across this period now stands at 64,402.

All figures are based on death registrations.

HEALTH Coronavirus
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Due to the inconsistent way coronavirus-related deaths are recorded and reported across the world, excess deaths is a more reliable measure for comparing the UK’s experience of Covid-19 with other countries.

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.

– Covid-19 has been responsible for 80% of the excess deaths registered in England and Wales

Between March 21 and June 5 2020, 168,396 deaths were registered in England and Wales – 58,693 more than the average for this period in the previous five years.

Some 46,996 were deaths where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, including suspected cases.

Recent research published by the ONS into the number of non-Covid-19 excess deaths suggested undiagnosed Covid-19 could help explain some of the cases, but there is not enough evidence at present to confirm this.

The overall number of excess deaths registered per week has fallen from a peak of 11,854 in the week ending April 17 to 732 in the week ending June 5.

HEALTH Coronavirus ONS
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– The number of deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK is now just over 53,000 

Tuesday’s ONS figures show that 47,820 deaths involving Covid-19 had occurred in England and Wales up to June 5, and had been registered by June 13.

Figures published last week by the National Records for Scotland showed that 4,000 deaths involving Covid-19 had been registered in Scotland up to June 7.

And data from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, also published last week, showed 779 deaths involving Covid-19 had occurred in Northern Ireland up to June 5, and had been registered up to June 10.

Together these figures mean that so far 52,599 deaths have been registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, including suspected cases.

Between June 6 and June 14, a further 430 hospital patients who had tested positive for Covid-19 died in England, according to NHS England; while a further 44 people in hospital and care homes who had tested positive for Covid-19 died in Wales, according to Public Health Wales.

And in Northern Ireland, a further four people who had tested positive for Covid-19 died between June 6 and June 14, according to the Northern Ireland Department of Health.

These add up to a further 478 deaths that have occurred since June 6, and together with the total figure of 52,599 registered deaths, mean the overall death toll for the UK is just over 53,000, at 53,077.

Details of deaths that took place in Scotland since the cut-off point for the latest registration data (June 7) are not available, because the Scottish Government does not report deaths by the date on which they occurred.

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– The ONS figures for England and Wales are just over a quarter higher than the number reported by the Government

The ONS says there were 47,820 deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales up to June 5, and which were registered up to June 13.

This compares with 37,520 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 27% 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 cases, 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.

HEALTH Coronavirus Deaths
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– Deaths per day in both hospitals and care homes are continuing to fall

The number of deaths involving Covid-19 taking place each day in both hospitals and care homes in England and Wales has now dropped to below 100.

On June 5, the latest date for which data is available, there were 47 Covid-19 deaths in care homes and 82 in hospitals.

HEALTH Coronavirus ONS
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These numbers could be revised as further data on death registrations is processed.

The figures also confirm there was a peak in deaths in care homes in England and Wales on April 17 (433 deaths), nine days after there was a peak in hospitals on April 8 (1,001 deaths).

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