Almost half of hospital deaths involved coronavirus in last week of 2020

12 January 2021, 11:08

File photo: A medic wearing PPE treats a patient wearing an oxygen mask inside an ambulance outside the emergency department of the Royal London Hospital
File photo: A medic wearing PPE treats a patient wearing an oxygen mask inside an ambulance outside the emergency department of the Royal London Hospital. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Almost half of the hospital deaths in England and Wales registered during the last week of 2020 involved coronavirus, new figures show.

There were 3,144 deaths registered in the week ending January 1 which mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Of the 4,956 deaths registered which occurred in hospitals, 47.7% involved coronavirus, up from 40.2% the previous week.

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And deaths involving Covid-19 in care homes accounted for more than a quarter (27.6%) of all deaths in care homes registered during the seven-day period.

The ONS said that next week it will release a new dataset on the weekly deaths of care home residents.

The figures show the number of registered coronavirus deaths is up 8.0% (232 deaths) from the previous week, while the number of overall deaths fell.

Of the 10,069 deaths registered, 31.2% mentioned Covid-19 - the highest proportion of deaths involving the virus since the week ending May 1.

The ONS said the latest figures should be interpreted with caution as the period covered includes two bank holidays, meaning there is likely to have been a delay in some registrations.

A decrease between these weeks is usually observed because of the impact of the Christmas bank holidays.

Five regions of England recorded an increase in registered Covid-19 deaths in the week to January 1, the ONS said.

In the South East, 523 deaths were registered, up from 415 the previous week and the highest since the week to May 15.

London had 492 deaths, up from 299 and the highest since the week to May 1.

The North West had 359 deaths, up from 343; eastern England 325, up from 301; and the South West 158, up from 155.

There have now been 98,379 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.=

A total of 93,030 have been registered where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, according to the latest reports from the UK's statistics agencies.

This includes 84,449 in England and Wales up to January 1, which were confirmed by the ONS on Tuesday.

Since these statistics were compiled, a further 4,869 deaths have occurred in England, plus 117 in Scotland, 245 in Wales and 118 in Northern Ireland, according to additional data published on the Government's coronavirus dashboard.