Coronavirus: Nearly 51,000 excess deaths in UK during Covid-19 pandemic

ONS figures also show care homes now account for third of all Covid-19 deaths across both countries

Samuel Lovett
Tuesday 12 May 2020 11:05 BST
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A total of 40,496 people in the UK have died from coronavirus as of 9 May, according to official figures, though data suggests there has been close to 51,000 excess deaths.

In the first six weeks of the outbreak, 108,345 deaths were registered by the Office for National Statistics for England and Wales – which is 46,494 more than the five-year average over the same period.

Covid-19 was responsible for 33,257 of these deaths, or 71.5 per cent, the ONS said.

The remainder – the deaths not directly linked with Covid-19 – might have been caused by factors connected with wider changes in England and Wales since the lockdown began: a reluctance on the part of some people to visit a doctor or a hospital, for instance, or the result of long-term health conditions being made worse by having to remain at home.

The ONS said it recorded 17,953 deaths from all causes during the week ending 1 May. While a decrease for the second week running, this was 8,012 more than average.

Speaking to BBC News, ONS statistician Nick Stripe: “That is about 4,000 lower than it was the week before but it is still 8,000 above the average that we would expect to see in this week at this time of year.

“So it is actually the seventh highest weekly total since this data set started in 1993 so we have had four out of the top seven weeks in the last four weeks.”

Equivalent figures from the National Records of Scotland, based on death registrations, show there were 3,716 excess deaths during the first five weeks of the outbreak, while the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency puts the figure for Northern Ireland at 704.

Together with the ONS figures for England and Wales, this means the total number of excess deaths recorded during the pandemic in the UK is 50,914.

The ONS figures also showed care homes now account for a third of all Covid-19 deaths in England and Wales.

There were 7,903 Covid-19 related deaths in care homes in England by 1 May, with 404 in Wales, the ONS said.

“Care homes (are) showing the slowest decline, sadly,” Mr Stripe said.

Referring to the week ending 1 May, which saw a 41 per cent increase in care home deaths, Mr Stripe added: “For the first time that I can remember, there were more deaths in total in care homes than there were in hospitals in that week.”

The latest figures from the National Records of Scotland, published last week, showed 2,795 deaths involving Covid-19 had been registered in the country up to 3 May.

Data from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, also published last week, showed 516 coronavirus deaths up to 6 May.

Adding these figures to more up-to-date fatalities from the four nations, the total official UK death toll now stands at 40,496.

The government, which uses data from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), claims that there have so far been 32,692 recorded deaths across the UK.

DHSC figures are based on when deaths were reported, and are for deaths where a person has tested positive for Covid-19.

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