The number of people dying from Covid-19 in care homes in England and Wales has more than quadrupled in the space of a week.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows 826 deaths that mentioned the virus on the death certificate were registered in care homes in the week ending 10 April. That was up from 195 deaths registered the week before, and 20 registered in the week to 27 March
The figures show that coronavirus-related deaths in care homes are now rising at a faster rate than those in hospital, though hospital deaths still outstrip care home deaths by a factor of six.
The number of care home deaths that do not mention the virus has also increased. There were 4,101 care home deaths that didn’t mention coronavirus on the death certificate in the week to 10 April, up from 3,574 in the week to 3 April and 2,469 in the week to 27 March. That suggests that the official total of 826 is an undercount of coronavirus-related deaths, and that other deaths are related to the virus either directly or via the pressure Covid-19 is putting on care home resources.
The figures on care homes chime with separate data from Public Health England, which monitors respiratory outbreaks as part of its weekly flu reporting. They show a meteoric rise in respiratory outbreaks in recent weeks, with the vast majority occurring in care homes.