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Weekly coronavirus deaths rise amid Christmas registration delays – ONS

Jemma Crew, PA Social Affairs Correspondent and Ian Jones, PA
·3-min read

The number of registered deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales has almost doubled in a week, following delayed registrations over the Christmas period, new figures have shown.

There were 17,751 deaths from all causes registered in the week ending January 8 – a “sharp increase” from the previous seven days, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Of these, 6,057 mentioned “novel coronavirus” on the death certificate – up 92.7% from the previous week.

There was also a 71.4% rise in registered deaths involving Covid-19 in care homes – from 560 registered in the week ending January 1 to 960 in the week up to January 8.

The ONS said the figures should be interpreted with caution as the Boxing Day and New Year’s Day bank holidays will have affected numbers previously registered.

The ONS also produced the first weekly dataset on the registered deaths of care home residents, including deaths that occurred in the care home but also elsewhere.

It found that 1,370 deaths of care home residents involving Covid-19 were registered in the week ending January 8.

Deaths involving Covid-19 in England & Wales
(PA Graphics)

Deaths involving the virus of residents in care homes, as notified to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), have almost doubled in a fortnight.

There were 1,260 deaths involving Covid-19 in care homes notified to the CQC in the week ending January 15, a 45% rise from the 864 deaths notified during the previous week.

And it is almost double the 661 deaths notified to the regulator in the week ending January 1.

There were also 422 CQC-notified deaths of care home residents in hospitals involving Covid-19 in the week ending January 15, and 24 occurred elsewhere or in a location not stated.

The ONS said that 34.1% of all deaths registered in the week ending January 8 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate – the highest proportion since the week ending May 1.

More than half of deaths in hospitals registered in the week ending January 8 involved coronavirus – 4,685 out of 9,108 – and so did more than a quarter of all care home deaths – 960 out of 3,395.

Nuffield Trust deputy director of research Sarah Scobie said that while part of the rise can be explained by delayed registrations over Christmas, the numbers are still heading in a “worrying direction”.

She said: “We may not see a jump like this next week, but there will be further increases in these tragic numbers as the surge in cases from December translates into some people becoming very unwell, and in some cases unfortunately dying.

“We are beginning to see a welcome fall in the number of cases now due in part to the third national lockdown – we’ll need to wait a few weeks to see this begin to pull mortality figures down.”

All regions of England recorded an increase in registered Covid-19 deaths in the week to January 8.

Two regions saw more than 1,000 Covid-19 deaths registered in the week to January 8: south-east England, where the total increased week-on-week from 523 deaths to 1,197; and London, where the total rose from 492 to 1,047.

Eastern England had 816 deaths in the week to January 8, up from 325 in the previous week.

The figures show that more than 106,000 deaths involving Covid-19 have now occurred in the UK.

A total of 99,813 deaths have so far been registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, according to the latest reports from the UK’s statistics agencies.

This includes 90,720 deaths in England and Wales up to January 8, which were confirmed by the ONS on Tuesday.

Since these statistics were compiled, a further 6,447 deaths have occurred in England, plus 146 in Scotland, 260 in Wales and 181 in Northern Ireland, according to additional data published on the Government’s coronavirus dashboard.

Together, these totals mean that so far, 106,847 deaths involving Covid-19 have taken place in the UK.