Covid: Weekly coronavirus deaths fall below 1,000 for first time in five months in England and Wales

300321 Coffin, PA
Deaths are at their lowest level in England and Wales in five months, new figures suggest. Credit: PA

For the first time in five months, the weekly number of Covid-19 deaths in England and Wales has fallen below 1,000.

The latest data available shows that there were 963 deaths registered in the two countries in the week ending March 19 where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This is the lowest number since the week ending October 16 and the first time the weekly death toll has fallen below 1,000 since the following week.

For the first time since October, less than 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths occurred in one week in England and Wales. Credit: PA

The latest deaths figure is down 36% on the week ending March 12, with about one in 11 (9.3%) of all deaths registered in the latest week mentioning coronavirus on the death certificate.

The ONS figures, combined with the corresponding data from Scotland and Northern Ireland, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been more than 150,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.

However, this figure is higher than that released by the Department of Health which stands at 126,615 as of 9am on Monday morning.

This figure is lower as it only includes fatalities who tested positive for Covid in the 28 days prior to their death.

Overall, 10,311 deaths were registered in the week to March 12, 8.0% below the average for the corresponding period in 2015-19.

It is the second week in a row that the overall number of deaths has been below the five-year average.

Prior to the two most recent weeks, the last time deaths had been below average was in the week to September 4.

The latest figures from the ONS also show that one in two people in England and Wales would test positive for Covid antibodies, an indicator of immunity, in the week ending March 14.

While having had Covid would cause someone to display antibodies, high vaccination rates are also behind this figure.

As of the end of March 28, 57.8% of adults in the UK have had at least one dose of the Covid vaccine and 7% have had both.

Deaths involving Covid-19 among people aged 80 and over have now fallen by 90% since the second-wave peak, the figures suggest. Again, it is thought this sharp decline is in part due to the vaccine.

A total of 536 Covid-19 deaths in the 80 and over age group occurred in England and Wales in the week ending March 12, down from 5,349 deaths in the week ending January 22.

Deaths for those aged 75-79 dropped 88% in the same period, compared with falls of 87% for those aged 70-74 and 83% for both those aged 65-69 and 60-64.

High vaccination rates are contributing to a decline in Covid deaths. Credit: PA

Care home resident deaths involving Covid-19 have fallen more than a third (35%) in a week, to 195 deaths in the week ending March 19.

Since the second wave peak for care home resident deaths – the week to January 29 – they have fallen 92%.

Deaths that occurred in the most recent week of reporting – the week to March 19 – are still being registered.

A total of 41,953 care home residents in England and Wales have now had Covid-19 recorded on their death certificate since the pandemic began.

The ONS figures cover deaths of care home residents in all settings, not just in care homes.