Coronavirus deaths in England continued rising into mid-November to 2,274 in the second week of the month, meaning the all-cause deaths were 19 per cent higher than usual for the time of year.
Office for National Statistics data published today shows that there were 1,833 ‘excess’ deaths in the week ending November 13, with a total of 11,495 people dying. Although higher than average, the figure is only just over half the 21,157 people who died of all causes in England’s worst week in April during the peak of the first wave.
The number of people dying with the viral infection is now on par with those succumbing to flu or pneumonia for the first time since June.
The coronavirus deaths recorded in the week that ended November 13 were a rise of 503 on the 1,771 recorded in the first week of the month. The most recent data is not likely to take into account any effects of lockdown.
Figures show that numbers of people dying of any cause is higher than average in all regions, with the northern parts of England still worst hit. In the North West deaths are 38 per cent higher than usual, driven up by a huge surge in Covid-19 infections, while in the South East they are only marginally higher at two per cent.
Hospitals, care homes and private homes are all seeing more fatalities than they would expect to at this time of year, and one in five deaths are now linked to Covid-19, compared to one in six a week earlier.
But the ONS data is backdated and known to be too old to reflect the current situation in the country.
Department of Health death counts, which take in daily totals from hospitals and care homes for the whole UK, suggest that the number of people being killed by Covid-19 has started to level off after a surge in October.
In the last three weeks of October, from the 10th to the 31st, the average number of people dying with coronavirus each day soared four-fold from 63 to 259, while in the first three weeks of November it rose far more slowly – by 57 per cent from 260 to 409.
There are signs of a flattening in the trend, although experts have warned deaths will likely stay in the hundreds per day for weeks to come as the effects of huge numbers of infections in October and early November continue to trickle through. It takes an average of two to three weeks for a victim to die after they catch the virus.
The deaths recorded in this week’s ONS release all happened between November 7 and November 13.
Because it generally takes between two and three weeks for Covid victims to die after they have caught the virus, this means that most of the coronavirus deaths in the updated numbers were people who got infected in the last week of October.
This means the number of people dying was still increasing in this week as a result of the fast-growing numbers of infections the country saw as the second wave spiralled out of control.
The ONS itself estimated that more than 50,000 people were catching the virus every day by the end of last month, with a Government-funded study suggesting the figure could have been as high as 100,000 a day.
Although lockdown appears to have brought this under control – estimates suggest the R rate has fallen noticeably and that daily infections were down to around 39,000 after the first week of lockdown, and they are likely to be lower still this week – it will take weeks for this to filter through into the death counts.
Daily case counts were first to fall when the effects of lockdown started to sink in – the average number of new positive tests has fallen from a peak of 25,000 a day nine days ago to 19,500 now.
Hospitalisations will follow suit as fewer infections leads to fewer severe cases, and then deaths will drop as the total numbers of people in hospitals falls.
Today’s ONS update showed that all English regions, and Wales, saw a higher number of registered deaths than the five-year average.
North West England had 615 deaths involving Covid-19 registered in the week ending November 13 – the highest number for the region since the week ending May 15, according to the ONS.
In Yorkshire and the Humber, 450 Covid-19 deaths were registered in the week to November 13 – again, the highest for the region since the week to May 15.
Some 284 Covid-19 deaths were registered in the West Midlands – the highest since the week to May 22 – while 245 were registered in the East Midlands, the highest since the week to May 15.
Weekly registered deaths not involving Covid-19 were below the five-year average for the third consecutive week, the ONS said.
A total of 68,524 deaths have so far been registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, according to the latest reports from the UK’s statistics agencies.
This includes 62,162 deaths in England and Wales up to November 13 (and registered up to November 21), which were confirmed by the ONS on Tuesday.
Since these statistics were compiled, a further 2,432 deaths are known to have occurred in England, plus 80 in Scotland, 128 in Wales and 91 in Northern Ireland, according to additional data published on the Government’s coronavirus dashboard.
Together, these totals mean that so far 71,255 deaths involving Covid-19 have taken place in the UK.
These are deaths where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, including suspected cases.
Of all deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales, around two thirds occurred in hospital, (40,062 deaths), the figures show.
The remainder occurred in care homes (16,849 deaths), private homes (2,927 deaths), hospices (833 deaths), other communal establishments (242 deaths) and elsewhere (223 deaths).
More than 30,000 excess deaths not linked to Covid-19 have occurred in private homes since the start of the pandemic.
There were 30,785 non-Covid excess deaths in homes in England and Wales registered between March 7 and November 13, the ONS said.