Nearly 8,000 more people than normal died in the week ending 10 April, with the bulk of the extra deaths directly attributed to Covid-19, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed.
The number of weekly deaths increased from 16,387 in the week ending 3 April to 18,516, which is 7,996 more than would be normally expected. It is the highest weekly total of deaths since 2000.
Just over 6,200 deaths were directly attributed to Covid-19, which still leaves 1,783 deaths more than would be normally expected, based on the average of the same week over the past five years. The ONS’s head of health analysis Nick Stripe told the BBC these deaths might be related to coronavirus, or they might be related to people not going to hospital. Establishing the exact reasons could take months or even years, he said.
The ONS figures are different to those published by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), which releases daily figures on Covid-19 deaths, because DHSC only counts deaths in hospitals, and also counts deaths that have not yet been registered. The ONS, however, counts any death where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, regardless of where it happened.
Over the week to April 10, DHSC recorded 5,195 Covid-19 deaths. That is more than a thousand fewer than the 6,213 deaths recorded by the ONS, and nearly 3,000 lower than the 7,996 total excess deaths from all causes.
The ONS figures are based on deaths that were registered during the week, meaning the figures might cover some deaths that took place earlier but weren’t registered until the week began. Some deaths that happened during that week might have been excluded because the paperwork hadn’t gone through yet.
The figures show that over half of deaths registered in London in the week ending 10 April were Covid-19 related, and in the West Midlands the figure was 37 per cent.
The rest of the country saw around one third (33.6 per cent) of deaths directly attributed to Covid-19, up from around a fifth (21.2 per cent) in the week ending April 3.