The latest government figures show a fall in the number of deaths registered in England and Wales for the third consecutive week but it still remains well above the average for this time of year.

The number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 8 May 2020 (week 19) was 12,657, 3,081 more than the five-year average for that period. 

Of the deaths registered, 3,930 mentioned Covid-19, which was 31.1% of all deaths; this is a decrease of 2,105 deaths compared with week 18 when it was 33.6% of all deaths. 

Of deaths involving Covid-19 registered up to week 19, 66.6% (24,883 deaths) occurred in hospital, 26.7% in care homes (9,980 deaths), 4.6% in private homes (1,727 deaths) and 1.2% in hospices (464 deaths).  

The number of deaths in care homes from all causes for week 19 decreased from 6,409 to 4,248 but deaths involving Covid-19 as a percentage of all deaths in care homes continued to rise to 39.2% compared with 37.8% in week 18. 

England had the highest number of deaths involving Covid-19, with 3,716 deaths, followed by Scotland with 415 deaths, Wales with 211 deaths and Northern Ireland with 84 deaths.

Niall Dickson of the NHS Confederation said the figures “provide some comfort” but warned against complacency and said the situation on care homes remained a serious concern.

“…these figures should have caution written all over them, as what goes down can also rise again. While the overall picture is improving, the proportion of deaths from Covid-19 in care homes continues to rise. More is being done to support this part of the system, but concerns remain. It is also clear that there are big lessons to be learned from what has happened to social care, and that major reform is inevitable,” he said.

Date published: May 19, 2020

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