Covid accounts for almost half of all deaths in week ending January 22 - and highest proportion since pandemic began

Deaths have been declining in recent days, but not as quickly as they did in the first lockdown. Credit: PA

Almost half of all deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending January 22 involved Covid-19, the latest figures show.

According to the Office For National Statistics, 45.1% of all death certificates mentioned Covid-19 - the highest proportion in a single week so far.

The week was the third deadliest of the pandemic so far, with 18,676 deaths register, an increase of 634 from the previous week.

The number of deaths was 41.3% above the five-year average.

England has been in lockdown for almost a month. Credit: PA

In England, the total number of registered deaths increased from 16,845 to 17,567, the third-highest total recorded during the pandemic.

All English regions had a higher number of deaths than the five-year average for the eleventh week in a row.

What was the regional breakdown of deaths?

The number of deaths involving Covid-19 increased in all regions, with the South East of England recording the highest number.

Three regions saw more than 1,000 Covid-19 deaths registered:

  • South East England - 1,734 deaths - the highest weekly total since the pandemic began

  • London - 1,400 deaths - the highest since the week to April 24 2020

  • Eastern England - 1,216 deaths - the highest since the pandemic began

In Wales, the number of registered deaths involving COVID-19 decreased from 467 to 447, the third-highest recorded at any point during the pandemic.

For the whole of the UK, the number of deaths registered in the week ending January 22 was 20,693 - which was 5,712 higher than the five-year average.

A total of 9,052 deaths involved Covid-19.

The government's measure for total deaths from Covid-19 stands at 103,602.

The government's deaths calculation is more conservative than the ones used by its statistics agencies, however, which estimate total deaths around 123,000.

New cases, hospitalisations and deaths have been showing signs of declining in recent days, but at a far slower pace than during the first lockdown during spring last year.Some 2,364 care home resident deaths involving Covid-19 in the week ending January 22 - the highest weekly total since the week to May 1 2020.

A total of 33,215 care home residents in England and Wales have now had Covid-19 recorded on their death certificate, the ONS said.

The ONS also said there were 5,460 deaths related to “alcohol-specific causes” between January and September last year - the highest peak since 2001.

Although the vast majority of the public have supported lockdowns as necessary to keep the virus under control most people recognise the impact they are having on daily lives.

There have been concerns about people's mental health as they were forced to stay at home during difficult conditions with many suffering from precarious or loss of work.

Death rates from alcohol in the second and third quarters of 2020 – April to June and July to September respectively – were statistically significantly higher than in any other year back to 2001, the ONS added.