Covid-19 deaths at low level despite growing wave of infections

The latest wave is being driven by the newer variants Omicron BA.4 and BA.5.

People look at tributes on the Covid memorial wall in central London (Yui Mok/PA)
People look at tributes on the Covid memorial wall in central London (Yui Mok/PA)

Covid-19 deaths in England and Wales remain at a low level, despite the latest wave of infections, new figures show.

There were 285 deaths registered in the week to June 24 where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This is broadly unchanged on the previous two weeks, and is well below the 1,125 deaths registered in the peak week of the Omicron BA.2 wave of infections earlier in the year.

(PA Graphics)

The impact of the current surge in infections is not likely to become clear in the figures for a few more weeks, due to the time it takes for someone with the virus to become seriously ill.

The latest wave is being driven by the newer variants Omicron BA.4 and BA.5, which are more transmissible than other strains and are able to evade the immune protection built up by vaccines or previous infections.

There is “currently no evidence” that BA.4 and BA.5 cause more serious illness than older variants of the virus, according to the UK Health Security Agency.

This suggests the numbers of people dying from Covid-19 or needing treatment in intensive care are unlikely to reach the sort of levels seen during the first year of the pandemic.

But the growing prevalence of the virus is expected to lead to extra pressure on hospitals, which are already facing a record backlog of patients needing treatment, besides causing widespread workforce absences and disruption across the UK.

Infections in all four nations of the UK are rising, with levels in England back to where they were in late April.

The number of people in hospital in England who have tested positive for Covid-19 has climbed above 10,000 for the first time since April, reaching 10,658 on July 4, up 36% week-on-week.

This is around two thirds of the peak of 16,600 patients seen during the Omicron BA.2 wave.

In Wales, 575 patients with Covid-19 were recorded on June 30, up 53% from the previous week.

Infections in Wales have climbed to levels last seen at the end of April.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in