What do the latest figures tell us about UK Covid-19 deaths?

UK News | Published:

There have been nearly 62,000 excess deaths in the UK since the outbreak began.


The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published its latest data for the number of deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales.

Here are five things the figures tell us about the situation across the whole of the UK.

– The number of deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK is just under 50,000

Tuesday’s ONS figures show that 44,401 deaths involving Covid-19 had occurred in England and Wales up to May 22, and had been registered up to May 30.

The latest figures from the National Records of Scotland, published last week, showed 3,779 deaths involving Covid-19 had been registered in Scotland up to May 24.

And data from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, also published last week, showed 716 deaths involving Covid-19 had been registered in Northern Ireland up to May 27.

Together these figures mean that so far 48,896 deaths have been registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, including suspected cases.

A further 931 hospital patients in England who had tested positive for Covid-19 died between May 23 and June 1, according to figures published on Tuesday by NHS England.


Together with the total figure of 48,896 registered deaths, this puts the overall death toll for the UK at just over 49,800.

– The ONS figures for England and Wales are around a third higher than the number reported by the Government

The ONS says there were 44,401 deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales up to May 22, and which were registered up to May 30.

This compares with 33,926 deaths of people testing positive for Covid-19 reported by the Department of Health and Social Care for the same period.


The ONS total is 31% higher than the Department of Health total.

This is because the ONS figures include all mentions of Covid-19 on a death certificate, including suspected cases, and are based on the date that deaths occurred.

The Department of Health figures are based on when deaths were reported, and are for deaths where a person has tested positive for Covid-19.

HEALTH Coronavirus Deaths
(PA graphic)

– There have been more than 56,000 excess deaths in England and Wales since the outbreak began

The ONS figures show that 147,863 deaths were registered in England and Wales between March 21 and May 22 2020.

This was 56,308 more than the average deaths for this period in the previous five years.

Covid-19 was responsible for 77% of these excess deaths.

The remainder – excess deaths not linked with Covid-19 – might have been caused by factors connected to wider changes in England and Wales since the lockdown began: a reluctance on the part of some people to visit a doctor or a hospital, for instance, or the result of long-term health conditions being made worse by having to remain at home.

The ONS said it is continuing to investigate the number of non-Covid-19-related deaths and is planning to publish detailed analysis on this on June 5.

HEALTH Coronavirus ONS
(PA graphic)

– There have been nearly 62,000 excess deaths in the UK since the outbreak began

Data published last week by the National Records of Scotland showed there were 4,618 excess deaths in Scotland between March 23 and May 24, while the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency put the figure for Northern Ireland at 869 excess deaths between March 21 and May 22.

Together with the 56,308 excess deaths in England and Wales reported by the ONS, this means the total number of excess deaths in the UK across this period now stands at 61,795.

All figures are based on death registrations.

Due to the inconsistent way coronavirus-related deaths are recorded and reported across the world, excess deaths is a more reliable measure for comparing the UK’s experience of Covid-19 with other countries.

Full analysis of excess deaths in 2020 will only be possible once numbers have been adjusted for the latest age distribution of the population and for seasonal variation.

– The number of deaths taking place in hospitals and care homes has each fallen to under 100 a day

The ONS data shows that on May 22, 62 deaths involving Covid-19 took place in care homes and 95 occurred in hospitals. This was the first time since March 19 that both of these totals had been under 100.

The numbers could be revised as further data on death registrations is processed. But these figures also confirm there was a peak in deaths in care homes in England and Wales on April 17, nine days after there was a peak in hospitals on April 8.

HEALTH Coronavirus Deaths
(PA graphic)

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