Covid deaths down by 13% in a week in first fall since Christmas

16 February 2021, 10:52 | Updated: 16 February 2021, 15:01

NHS workers at the Royal London during the Covid-19 crisis
NHS workers at the Royal London during the Covid-19 crisis. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

The number of weekly Covid-19 deaths in England and Wales has fallen for the first time since Christmas, according to new data.

There were 7,320 deaths registered in the week ending February 5 where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

This is a fall of 1,113 deaths (13.1%) compared with the previous week.

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The last time deaths fell was the week ending December 25. That week included a bank holiday which is likely to have had an impact on registrations.

The NHS Confederation welcomed the news but warned deaths remain very high, with more than 23,000 people still in hospital in Covid-19.

There is still an overall higher number of deaths compared to the average for this time over the past five years.

Coronavirus accounted for 42.6% of the overall deaths registered in the week ending February 5, also down from the previous week.

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is "hopeful" that lockdown can be cautiously eased in the coming weeks, saying research on vaccines is providing "grounds for confidence".

There are also reports today that Boris Johnson is considering dropping the government's 'stay at home' messaging, which would pave the way for people to be able to meet outdoors and for some leisure activities to resume.

According to The Times, preliminary data comparing elderly people who have received the vaccine with those who have not is starting to show it is cutting hospital admissions and deaths.

The paper said ministers have already been given data showing that vaccines are cutting illness by about two-thirds, while a separate study suggests jabs are reducing transmission.

Some 2,175 care home resident deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales were registered in the week to February 5 - a drop of 13% on the previous week.

This is the first fall since the week ending December 31.

The number of deaths of residents notified to the Care Quality Commission also fell - from 695 in the week ending February 5 to 536 in the week ending February 12.

A total of 37,895 care home residents in England and Wales have now had Covid-19 recorded on their death certificate, the ONS said.

Some 10,133 care home resident deaths involving coronavirus have been registered so far this year - more than a quarter (26.7%) of the total number of care home resident deaths involving Covid registered during the pandemic.

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