England and Wales saw 27,000 more deaths than would normally be expected between the start of March, when the coronavirus pandemic took hold, and 17 April, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.
Of the 27,015 “excess deaths”, 19,093 have been officially attributed to Covid-19, leaving a gap of 7,922 deaths that are officially “unexplained”. Many are likely to be associated with the virus, either as a direct cause, or because the lockdown has restricted access to other forms of health and social care.
In the week ending 17 April, there were more than twice as many deaths than would be expected during the same week in an average year. 22,351 people died during the week, compared to an average of 10,497 across the past five years. Those 11,854 excess deaths are the highest ever recorded in a single week. 8,758 of those deaths have been officially attributed to the coronavirus.
The chart below shows that the number of weekly deaths during January to early March was fairly close to what was expected, if a bit lower.
Starting on the week ending 27 March, however, the total number of deaths, both attributed to coronavirus and not, skyrocketed to more than double the expected level.