Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Science & Tech
  2. Coronavirus
16 April 2020updated 04 Sep 2021 12:47pm

ONS survey highlights pre-existing conditions most commonly associated with Covid-19 deaths

By Nicu Calcea

Men, the elderly and people with pre-existing health conditions are most likely to die due to coronavirus, official data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has confirmed. 

New ONS data shows Covid-19 was the third most common cause of death in England and Wales in March, with nearly one in 10 deaths involving the disease. The data shows an average across the entire month – including the early days before the outbreak took hold – and is expected to be higher in April.

The figures come from an ONS study of deaths in March registered before 6 April. It found that that more than nine in 10 people who died due to Covid-19 had a pre-existing health condition, and many of those who died had multiple pre-existing illnesses. 14 per cent of those that died had ischaemic heart disease, making it the most common pre-existing condition associated with Covid-19 fatalities, followed by pneumonia, dementia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The death rate for men was almost double that of women. The data also confirmed that the elderly were disproportionately likely to die, with death rates increasing rapidly from the ages of 55-59 for men and 65-69 for women. Children seem to be virtually unaffected by the disease, with no deaths of people under 15 recorded in March.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Content from our partners
How do we secure the hybrid office?
How materials innovation can help achieve net zero and level-up the UK
Fantastic mental well-being strategies and where to find them