Weekly Covid deaths in England and Wales drop again by 22%: ONS recorded 5,691 virus-linked deaths in mid-February – but the disease was still to blame for a THIRD of all deaths
- Office for National Statistics data showed there were 5,691 fatalities linked to the virus in week to February 12
- This was the second week in a row that Covid deaths have fallen, but the tenth highest tally on record
- Some 1,491 care home residents also died after catching the virus, a 30 per cent drop from the previous week
Covid deaths have fallen by almost a quarter in a week, official figures revealed today, after they dropped for the second seven-day spell in a row.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showed there were 5,691 fatalities linked to the virus in England and Wales in the week ending February 12, which marked a 22 per cent dip from the previous period.
The number of people succumbing to the virus also declined in every English region and deaths from all causes dropped by a tenth, as Britons continued to turn the tide on the second wave.
But despite the promising statistics Covid deaths remained perilously high, accounting for more than a third of deaths recorded. The latest week was the tenth deadliest of the pandemic.
Some 1,491 care home residents also died after catching the virus, which was a 30 per cent drop from the previous week. But deaths were still 753 above the same time last year.
ONS death figures are showing a slow downturn because they lag behind the daily fatality figures, after statisticians analyse each to identify all those where the virus was mentioned.
The Department of Health’s daily updates show the number of deaths from the virus is already falling in line with nosediving infections, after peaking in mid-January.
There is a delay of about three weeks between someone getting infected with the virus and sadly succumbing to the disease, meaning it takes time for a dip in cases to show up in the deaths figures.
ONS data showed Covid fatalities fell in every region of England compared to the previous week, and none recorded more than 1,000 deaths from the virus for the first time this year.
The sharpest drop was in the South East where they fell by 31 per cent (974 Covid deaths recorded), followed by London where they dropped by 27 per cent (718) and the East of England where they fell by 26 per cent (808).
These regions were the first to enter the harshest measures in the run-up to Christmas due to surging outbreaks of the more infectious mutant Kent variant. Others did not enter harsher measures until after the new year.
But in the East Midlands they declined by just one per cent compared to last week after 557 were recorded, compared to 564 the previous week.
Deaths from all causes also remained above the five-year average – the number of deaths that would be expected at this time – in all English regions, highlighting the death toll triggered by the virus and the disruption to routine healthcare after wards were turned over to handle Covid patients.
London’s deaths were 42.4 per cent above the levels expected (460 extra deaths). In the East Midlands they were 42.2 per cent higher than expected (432) and in the East of England they were 42 per cent higher (552).
In Wales the number of Covid deaths also fell by 31 per cent from 314 to 216, ONS data showed. Deaths in the devolved nation from all causes were above the five-year average, however, by 4.3 per cent (31 extra deaths).
Professor Kevin McConway, a statistician at the Open University, heralded today’s statistics as ‘more good news’ although he added the figures still made it clear the UK has a ‘long way to go’ to bring down deaths.
‘You’d expect the total numbers of deaths to fall at this time of year as we move out of winter,’ he said, ‘but the total fell by considerably more than the average figure’.
‘Excess deaths – measured by ONS as the difference between the number of deaths in the latest week and the five-year average for 2015-2019 – were down by more than 1,500, a fall of almost one third in a week.’
On Covid deaths Professor McConway said they still accounted for a ‘huge proportion’. He added: ‘The impact of Covid-19 on total deaths from all causes is lessened by the fact that non-Covid deaths are over 2,000 a week below the five-year average.
‘That’s to be expected, because, in the short term at least, lockdown measures reduce the impact of several other causes of death, such as other respiratory diseases.’