You asked

​Between 1 Jun 2020 and 20 Dec 2020, how many deaths have solely Covid-19 as the cause of death on the death certificate with no other cause.

How many deaths have Cancer as the sole cause of death for the same period.

We said

Thank you for your request.


We have produced the following publication, Deaths involving COVID-19, England and Wales, in the response to COVID-19. This publication provides a greater insight into the leading underlying causes of death groups for deaths occurring in England and Wales between March and June 2020.

We define a pre-existing condition here as the last health condition mentioned on the first part of the death certificate when it came before the coronavirus (COVID-19) or was an independent contributory factor in the death, mentioned in part II. Where only COVID-19 was recorded on the death certificate, or COVID-19 and subsequent conditions caused by COVID-19 were recorded, we refer to these deaths as having "No pre-existing conditions". Of the 50,335 deaths that occurred in March to June 2020 involving COVID-19 in England and Wales, 45,859 (91.1%) had at least one pre-existing condition, while 4,476 (8.9%) had none. COVID-19 deaths where there was no pre-existing condition between March and June 2020 are included below, this can be found on table 5.

  • No pre-existing condition: England and Wales – 4476

  • No pre-existing condition: England – 4169

  • No pre-existing condition: Wales – 294

We intend to publish an update for Deaths involving COVID-19, England and Wales to include data from July to December 2020.


We have not yet conducted detailed analysis on deaths where cancer was listed as the underlying cause. We have currently published provisional data in the following publication: Monthly mortality analysis. Cancer statistics are available in Table 11. A full detailed breakdown of cause of death, including cancer, will be published in July 2021 in our annual deaths registered series. We will also publish this data via our interactive NOMIS webservice, which will have a greater breakdown of the ICD cancer codes.

Consequently, data showing COVID-19 deaths with no underlying health conditions registered between July and December 2020 and deaths from cancer in 2020 are considered exempt under Section 22(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, whereby information is exempt from release if there is a view to publish the information in the future.

As a central government department and producer of official statistics, we need to have the freedom to be able to determine our own publication timetables. This is to allow us to deal with the necessary preparation, administration and context of publications. It would be unreasonable to consider disclosure when to do so would undermine our functions.

This exemption is subject to a public interest test. We recognise the desirability of information being freely available and this is considered by ONS when publication schedules are set in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics. The need for timely data must be balanced against the practicalities of applying statistical skill and judgement to produce the high quality, assured data needed to inform decision-making. If this balance is incorrectly applied, then we run the risk of decisions being based on inaccurate data which is arguably not in the public interest. This will have an impact on public trust in official statistics in a time when accuracy of official statistics is more important to the public than ever before.