The number of deaths registered in England and Wales over one week has fallen below the five-year average for the first time since the week ending March 13, the Office for National Statistics said. – T. Narayan /Bloomberg

The number of people dying across the UK has fallen back to average levels for the first time since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, according to the latest figures.

In total, there have now been 65,517 excess deaths (above the five year average) recorded across the UK between March 6 and June 19.

But as the number of deaths linked to coronavirus continues to fall, the total of weekly deaths has now returned to the level that would be expected for the time of year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Deaths which have officially been linked to Covid-19, either following a test or with the virus mentioned on a death certificate, have now reached 53,857.

Excess deaths vanish

In the week to June 19, there were 9,339 deaths across England and Wales – 65 lower than the five-year average, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Across all nations of the UK there were 10,687 deaths, just 18 above the five year average after tens of thousands of excess deaths in previous weeks.

Of the 9,339 deaths which occurred in the week to June 19, 783 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate – just 8.4 per cent of all deaths in England and Wales, and the lowest proportion in the last 12 weeks.

Though the number of deaths was highest in the South East (1,411 deaths), this was 3.8 per cent lower than the five-year average for the region.

Wales had the highest percentage of deaths above the five-year average in the week to June 19 (7.7 per cent), and the East Midlands had the highest percentage above the five-year average (6.6 per cent) in the English regions.

The number of deaths registered in the week to June 19 was similar to, or lower than, the five-year average in the West Midlands, the north-west, the east of England, the south-east and the south-west.

In both hospitals and care homes, the number of deaths fell below the average, with 782 and 49 fewer deaths respectively. However, there were 827 excess deaths in people’s private homes.

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Deaths at home remain an issue

Problems remain in the community. While deaths are now at below average levels in hospitals and care homes, in the week to June 19 there were more than 3,000 deaths in people’s homes in England and Wales – 867 more than would be expected.

Across England and Wales, there have now been almost twice as many excess deaths in care homes as in hospitals.

Since March 6, there have been 26,696 excess deaths in care homes and 14,221 in hospitals, all of which can be linked to Covid-19.

ONS researchers said: “It is acknowledged that care homes will be feeling the effects of the deaths of any of their residents including those that died outside of care homes – for example, in hospitals.”

In people’s homes in the community, there have been a total of 17,624 excess deaths in the same period. Just 1,969  (11 per cent) of those have been officially linked to Covid-19.

Responding to the data, Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, said: “The ONS figures show that the number of deaths in the UK in the last week was below average for this time of year. 

“Each one is a tragedy, and we must keep the virus under control, but we are making real progress in our national effort.”

 



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