Coronavirus death rate twice as high for men than women in March, ONS figures show

The death rate for men with coronavirus was twice as high as that of women in England and Wales in March, figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed.

Although the death toll in the UK has since increased significantly to at least 12,868, the figures released by the ONS provide an insight into how the disease is affecting vast parts the country so far.

Of the 3,912 deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales, 3,372 (86%) had Covid-19 assigned as the underlying cause of death - which is the equivalent of 69 per 100,000 people.

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And of the deaths involving Covid-19 which occurred in March, there was at least one pre-existing condition in more than nine out of 10 cases (91%).

Coronavirus accounted for 7% of all deaths in England and Wales in March - 9% of all deaths for males and 6% for females, making it the third highest cause of death.

The rate of death due to Covid-19 increased significantly in each age group, starting from age 55 to 59 years in males and age 65 to 69 years in females; overall, one in five deaths were in age group 80 to 84 years.

The mortality rate for men who died due to coronavirus was 97.5 deaths per 100,000 population, while for women it was 46.6 deaths per 100,000, the ONS said.

Including cases where Covid-19 was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, the death rate for men was 113.1 per 100,000 for men and 54.1 per 100,000 for women.

Death rates increased in every age group for both men and women, and the gap between men and women was significant from age 55 and up.

The ONS pointed out that, in general, men have a higher mortality rate than women.

Chronic ischaemic heart disease was the most common main pre-existing condition and was involved in 541 deaths (14% of the total).

Capacity across hospitals has been ramped up to deal with the additional pressure of coronavirus. Credit: PA

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease was the underlying cause of death in the most deaths for the month (6,401 – the equivalent of 130 deaths per 100,000 people), and which accounted for 14% of all deaths in March.

This was followed by ischaemic heart diseases, with 4,042 deaths (83 per 100,000 people), which accounted for 9% of the total.

Despite the Covid-19 outbreak, the overall mortality rate for March was “significantly lower” than the five-year average, the ONS said.

It suggests this could be due in part to the colder winters in 2015 and 2018, which led to a higher number of deaths in the winter months.

To view a full breakdown of the figures, click here.

  • Why do some people die from Covid-19 while others don't know they have it? Listen to the latest episode of our podcast Coronavirus: What You Need to Know - available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. You can also listen here.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know