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Trends in Covid-19 deaths: how the four nations of the UK compare

UK News | Published:

Deaths have fallen, but the pattern is not consistent.

The Covid ambulance entrance at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey (Steve Parsons/PA)

The latest data from the UK’s statistical agencies shows the number of Covid-19 deaths per day is falling in each of the four nations of the UK – though the downwards trend is not smooth or consistent.

The figures are based on death registrations where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, whether as the underlying cause or not.

Here is what the data shows.

In England, the first death involving Covid-19 took place on March 2. Numbers remained low until the second half of the month. The daily total went above 100 for the first time on March 20, after which it rose steadily to a peak of 1,260 deaths on April 8.

Since then the number has followed a slow and reasonably consistent trend downwards. It has not been above 1,000 since April 18, and not been higher than 500 since May 7. The latest data, based on deaths registered up to May 23, goes as far as May 15 when 302 deaths occurred.

All these numbers, which are from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), are provisional and could be revised. This is because it takes time for deaths to be officially registered and there may have been deaths involving Covid-19 that took place up to May 15 but which have yet to be fully recorded. The next update from the ONS will be on June 2.

HEALTH Coronavirus Deaths
(PA Graphics)

In Wales, the ONS data shows the first death taking place on March 15, followed by a peak of 72 deaths on both April 8 and April 12.

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Since that point, the overall direction has been downwards – but the trend has been inconsistent.

For example, the daily total fell from 21 deaths on May 11 to 18 on May 12 – before rising to 22 on May 13 and 27 on May 14, then dropping back to 15 on May 15.

Bear in mind these are very low numbers to begin with, so the fluctuations are comparatively small. The daily total has not been higher than 40 since April 25, and no higher than 30 since May 6.

HEALTH Coronavirus Deaths
(PA Graphics)

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Figures for Scotland are published by the National Records of Scotland and the latest relevant data runs to May 17.

It shows the first death involving Covid-19 took place on March 12, with a peak almost a month later of 108 deaths on April 9. This was the first time the daily total had been above 100.

It dropped to 98 on April 10, but went back above 100 on two successive occasions (101 on April 16 and 105 on April 20).

Since then, the trend has been similar to that in Wales: a decline that is bumpy and inconsistent, but the overall direction is downwards.

The daily total has not been above 80 since April 27 and no higher than 50 since May 13.

HEALTH Coronavirus Deaths
(PA Graphics)

Northern Ireland has the lowest number of deaths of the four nations and this is reflected in the pattern of its daily figures.

Data from the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency for deaths involving Covid-19 occurring up to May 22 and registered by May 27 shows the first death took place on March 18, since when the total number of deaths taking place on a single day has never been higher than 25.

Such a low volume makes it hard to detect a clear trend in the overall figures, with peaks of 25 deaths occurring on both April 9 and April 22.

But despite day-to-day fluctuations, the total has been no higher than 10 since May 14.

Next week’s data from Northern Ireland – due to be published on June 5 – will reveal whether the numbers have stayed at this low level.

HEALTH Coronavirus Deaths
(PA Graphics)

It is too soon for any consequences of an easing of the lockdown in one or more of the four nations of the UK to show up in these figures.

As such, the downward trends evident in all the sets of numbers are still a result of the full lockdown that was put in place at the end of March.

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