Coronavirus: Highest weekly death toll in England and Wales in 20 years

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand

England and Wales recorded its highest weekly death toll for 20 years, largely due to the number of coronavirus deaths, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

The figures, which take into account deaths outside of hospitals, recorded the provisional number of deaths registered in England and Wales as 18,516 in the week of April 10.

This is an increase of 2,129 deaths compared to the previous week and 7,996 deaths more than the five-year average. It is also the largest amount of deaths in the UK since the first week of 2000.

  • ITV News Science Editor Tom Clarke explains how the daily coronavirus statistics are calculated:

More than a third (33.6%, or 6,213 deaths) mentioned coronavirus on the death certificate in the week of April 10.

The ONS figures also show there were 12,516 deaths involving Covid-19 in England up to April 10 (and which were registered up to April 18), compared with 10,260 deaths in hospitals in England for the same period, reported by NHS England.

The ONS total is 22% higher than the total published by NHS England.

This is because the ONS figures include all mentions of Covid-19 on a death certificate, including suspected Covid-19, as well as deaths in the community.

The NHS figures only include deaths in hospitals where a patient has been tested for Covid-19.

London was the hardest hit region of England and Wales, with more than half (53.2%) of deaths registering coronavirus.

The West Midlands also had a high proportion of Covid-19 deaths, accounting for 37% of deaths registered in the region.

There were more than a thousand coronavirus-related care home deaths registered up to April 10, up from 217 the week before, official figures show.

Latest weekly figures from the Office for National Statistics show there were 1,662 deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales registered up to April 10 which occurred outside hospitals. The equivalent figure for hospitals deaths over the period is 8,673.

Of the deaths outside hospitals, 1,043 took place in care homes, 466 in private homes, 87 in hospices, 21 in other communal establishments and 45 elsewhere.

The ONS said the numbers are based on where Covid-19 is mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, including in combination with other health conditions.

England and Wales recorded its highest weekly death toll for 20 years. Credit: PA

A total of 406 deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales registered up to April 3 occurred outside of hospitals, according to provisional ONS figures – around 10% of the total.

This week’s figures show the proportion of deaths outside hospitals has risen to 16%, with 83.9% (8,673 deaths) occurring in hospitals.

On the ONS figures, councillor Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: “Today’s sad and shocking figures highlight just what a severe challenge we face in care homes and other community settings.

“Council social care staff and care homes need urgent access to reliable and ongoing supplies of quality PPE, increased rapid and comprehensive testing and greater support with staffing and other equipment, on an equal footing with the NHS.

“Data on all deaths from Covid-19 needs to be published promptly and accurately, so we can have full confidence and transparency in these figures as part of our plan to defeat this deadly virus.

“We are also yet to see the peak of the stress on the social care system, due to the delay between hospital admissions and discharge, which will require the need to start thinking about shifting capacity across from hospitals and into the community to meet a surge in demand.”

  • 'No doubt gowns are definitely running short':

The Chief Executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, told ITV News it was important to get to a "sustainable and reliable" supply of PPE equipment.

Mr Hopson admitted, however, that there are some NHS trusts where PPE gowns are "definitely running short".

He added that not everybody working on the frontline of the coronavirus crisis who needs a gown, is getting one and said that trusts are looking for workarounds.

Elsewhere, Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Staff working in care homes and those looking after people in the community have been massively let down. The ongoing lack of protective kit has left many terrified they’ll spread this deadly virus or become infected themselves.

“There’s still widespread confusion among workers and their employers over what equipment they should have. Some staff are being told off for wearing masks while others can’t even get hold of hand sanitiser, according to reports still coming into Unison’s PPE alert hotline."

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