Covid-19 deaths fall to lowest level since start of 2021

2 March 2021, 10:34 | Updated: 2 March 2021, 10:45

Coronavirus deaths have fallen to the lowest level since the start of the year
Coronavirus deaths have fallen to the lowest level since the start of the year. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

The number of weekly registered coronavirus deaths in England and Wales has fallen by nearly 30 per cent, to the lowest level since the start of the year, figures show.

There were 4,079 deaths registered in the week ending February 19 where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

This is down 28.3% and the lowest number of weekly registered deaths since the week ending January 1.

There was furthern positive news yesteday at a press conference where Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that receiving a single shot of either the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine reduces the chance of needing hospital treatment by "more than 80 per cent."

Data from Public Health England, which was shown yesterday is based on the number of people over 80 testing positive for Covid and ending up in hospital as a result.

The study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, included more than 7.5 million people aged 70 and over in England.

The data also showed that infections (where people display symptoms) in the over-70s fall from around three weeks after one dose of both vaccines.

The ONS data released today also showed that the proportion of deaths that involved coronavirus has also fallen - from 37.1% to 29.5% in the latest period.

READ MORE: Single Pfizer or Oxford vaccine dose cuts hospitalisations in over 80s by 80%

READ MORE: Decision to delay second Covid-19 jab saved 'large number' of lives, data suggests

Overall, there were 13,809 deaths from all causes registered in the week ending February 19, a 10.0% fall from the previous seven days.

There were 2,182 deaths above what would usually be expected for this week based on the average over the past five years.

All regions of England recorded a week-on-week fall in the number of Covid-19 deaths registered in the week to February 19, the ONS said.

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South-east England saw the highest number of Covid-19 deaths registered: 636, down 35% from 974 in the previous week.

Eastern England saw the second highest number: 566, down 30% from 808.

Some 969 care home resident deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales were registered in the week to February 19, down more than a third (35%) on the previous week, the ONS said.

A total of 40,355 care home residents in England and Wales have now had Covid-19 recorded on their death certificate since the pandemic began.

The figures cover deaths of care home residents in all settings, not just in care homes.

Separate data shows the government's controversial decision to delay second doses of Covid vaccines in an effort to jab more older people has been credited with saving a "large number" of lives.

The Public Health England data suggests hospital admissions are being greatly reduced by the strategy.

The results of the study have been hailed as "exciting" and "hugely reassuring". It indicates that the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines are highly effective in reducing infections.

Protection against developing symptomatic Covid-19 in the over-70s ranged between 57% and 61% for one dose of Pfizer and between 60% and 73% for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, the study found.

Over-80s who had been vaccinated with one dose of either jab had more than 80% protection against hospital admission, while the Pfizer jab was 85% effective at preventing death from Covid-19.More data is being analysed on how the Oxford jab prevents death, while figures for the over-70s are expected shortly.