Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional: week ending 26 June 2020

Provisional counts of the number of deaths registered in England and Wales, including deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, by age, sex and region, in the latest weeks for which data are available.

This is the latest release. View previous releases

10 July 2020 10:44

The incorrect percentage of deaths involving COVID-19 in Week 26 in England was initially published. This has been updated to 6.8% from 7.2%. The proportion of deaths occurring in care homes was incorrectly reported as increasing in Week 26 compared to Week 25, however this decreased.

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This is an accredited national statistic.

Contact:
Email Sarah Caul

Release date:
7 July 2020

Next release:
14 July 2020

2. Main points

  • The number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 26 June 2020 (Week 26) was 8,979, this was 360 deaths lower than Week 25.

  • In Week 26, the number of deaths registered was 3.4% below the five-year average (314 deaths fewer), this is the second consecutive week that deaths have been below the five-year average; the numbers of deaths in care homes and hospitals were also fewer than the five-year average (103 and 815 deaths lower respectively), while the number of deaths in private homes was 745 higher than the five-year average.

  • Of the deaths registered in Week 26, 606 mentioned "novel coronavirus (COVID-19)", the lowest number of deaths involving COVID-19 in the last 13 weeks, accounting for 6.7% of all deaths in England and Wales.

  • In Week 26, the proportion of deaths occurring in care homes decreased to 20.2% while deaths involving COVID-19 as a percentage of all deaths in care homes decreased to 10.5%.

  • Except for the North East, which increased by 2 deaths, the number of deaths involving COVID-19 continued to decrease across all English regions, with six of the nine having fewer overall deaths than the five-year average in Week 26.

  • In Wales, the total number of deaths was below the five-year average (19 deaths fewer) for Week 26 while the number of deaths involving COVID-19 fell to 30 deaths registered (from 39 deaths in Week 25).

  • Of all deaths involving COVID-19 registered up to Week 26, 63.5% occurred in hospital with the remainder mainly occurring in care homes (29.7%), private homes (4.6%) and hospices (1.4%).

  • The number of deaths registered in the UK in the week ending 26 June 2020 (Week 26) was 10,267, which was lower than the five-year average (by 295 deaths), of which 651 deaths involved COVID-19.

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3. Deaths registered by week

Figure 1: The number of deaths involving COVID-19 decreased for the 10th consecutive week

Number of deaths registered by week, England and Wales, 28 December 2019 to 26 June 2020

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The provisional number of deaths registered in England and Wales decreased from 9,339 in Week 25 (week ending 19 June 2020) to 8,979 in Week 26 (week ending 26 June 2020). The number of deaths was 3.4% below the five-year average (314 fewer deaths) (Figure 1). This is the second consecutive week that weekly deaths have been below the five-year average. More information is in Measuring the data.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a large impact on the number of deaths registered over the last few months, and is the main reason for deaths increasing above what is expected (the five-year average). The disease has had a larger impact on those most vulnerable (for example, those who already suffer from a medical condition) and those at older ages. Some of these deaths would have likely occurred over the duration of the year but have occurred earlier because of the coronavirus. These deaths occurring earlier than expected could mean we see start to see a period of deaths below the five-year average.

The number of deaths registered in Week 20 was affected by the Early May Bank Holiday (on Friday 8 May 2020, in Week 19); the impact of the early May Bank Holiday was analysed in our Week 20 bulletin. Week 22 included the late May Bank Holiday (on Monday 25 May 2020), so trends seen in Weeks 22 and 23 should also be interpreted with caution.

The number of death registrations involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) decreased from 783 in Week 25 to 606 in Week 26, the lowest number of COVID-19 deaths registered in the last 13 weeks. Of all deaths registered in Week 26, 6.7% mentioned COVID-19, down from 8.4% in Week 25.

The number of deaths in England and Wales decreased in Week 26. In England there was a decrease from 8,716 in Week 25 to 8,414 in week 26, which was 281 fewer than the Week 26 average. Of the Week 26 deaths, 6.8% (574 deaths) involved COVID-19 in England.

In Wales, the number of deaths decreased by 65 deaths in Week 26 to 552 deaths, 19 deaths fewer than the five-year average. Of these, 5.4% (30 deaths) involved COVID-19.

The number of deaths mentioning "Influenza and Pneumonia" on the death certificate (without COVID-19) decreased from 1,002 in Week 25 to 938 in Week 25 remaining below the five-year average. The number of deaths that mentioned both "Influenza and Pneumonia" and COVID-19 on the death certificate decreased to 229, compared with 316 deaths in Week 25.

In Week 26, 17.2% of all deaths mentioned "Influenza and Pneumonia", COVID-19, or both compared with 19.1% in Week 25. "Influenza and Pneumonia" has been included for comparison, as a well-understood cause of death involving respiratory infection that is likely to have somewhat similar risk factors to COVID-19.

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Figure 2: The number of excess deaths involving COVID-19 continued to decrease

Number of deaths registered by week, England and Wales, 28 December 2019 to 26 June 2020

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As COVID-19 was not a cause of death prior to 2020, any deaths involving COVID-19 appear in the counts above the five-year average and are counted as excess deaths. This means that when the number of deaths involving COVID-19 is higher than the number of excess deaths, the bar indicating deaths not involving COVID-19 makes a negative contribution.

Between Weeks 1 and 12, 138,916 deaths were registered, which was 4,822 fewer than the five-year average for these weeks. However, between Weeks 13 and 26, 196,690 deaths were registered which was 58,873 more than the five-year average. Week 26 showed a continuation of the decreasing trend in excess deaths involving COVID-19. (Figure 2). Detailed analysis on non-COVID-19 related deaths is available in Analysis of death registrations not involving coronavirus (COVID-19).

Looking at the year-to-date (using the most up-to-date data we have available), the number of deaths up to 26 June was 335,578 which is 54,023 more than the five-year average. Of the deaths registered by 26 June 2020, 50,000 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate; 14.9% of all deaths in England and Wales.

Looking at the year-to-date for England and Wales separately, the number of deaths for England was 315,365 which is 52,308 (19.9%) more than the five-year average. Of these, 47,499 deaths (15.1%) mentioned COVID-19.

In Wales, the number of deaths up to 26 June was 19,710, which is 2,028 (11.5%) more than the five-year average; of these, 2,427 deaths (12.3%) mentioned COVID-19.

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4. Deaths registered by age group

Figure 3: Over one-fifth of all deaths involving COVID-19 were of people aged 90 years and over in Week 26

Deaths by age group, England and Wales, week ending 26 June 2020

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In Week 26 the number of deaths involving COVID-19 decreased or remained similar in all age groups of 20 to 24 years and over compared with Week 25. The number of deaths involving COVID-19 remained higher in the older age groups than in younger age groups (Figure 3). The highest proportions of deaths involving COVID-19 were of people aged 80 to 84 years, 85 to 89 years, and 90 and over, where 8.2%, 7.9% and 7.7% of deaths involved COVID-19, respectively.

Looking at the year-to-date, for most age groups there have been more deaths involving COVID-19 in males than in females (Figure 4). Across Weeks 1 to 26 of 2020, 55.1% of all deaths involving COVID-19 were males. However, there were more deaths in females aged 85 years and over (11,426) than males (9,704). This could be because the over-85 years female population (939,000) is larger than the over-85 years male population (564,000) in England and Wales.

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5. Deaths by region in England and Wales

Figure 5: The number of deaths involving COVID-19 was highest in the North West for the sixth consecutive week

Deaths by regions in England, and Wales, week ending 26 June 2020

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Figure 6: The number of deaths involving COVID-19 registered across all English regions, except the North East, continued to decrease

Deaths by regions in England, and Wales, week ending 26 June 2020

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In Week 26 (week ending 26 June 2020), there were 30 deaths involving COVID-19 registered in Wales. Out of the English regions, the North West had the largest number of deaths involving COVID-19 (120 deaths), whereas the East Midlands had the highest proportion of deaths involving COVID-19, with 11.1% of all deaths involving COVID-19. More detailed geographical analysis between 1 March and 31 May 2020 can be found in our Deaths involving COVID-19 by local area and socioeconomic deprivation release.

Though the number of deaths was highest in the South East (1,311 deaths), this was 9.5% lower than the five-year average for the region. The North West had the highest percentage of deaths above the five-year average in Week 26 (7.4%). The number of deaths registered in Week 26 was similar to, or lower than, the five-year average in Wales and all the English regions except in the North West (Table 1).

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6. Deaths registered by place of occurrence

The year-to-date analysis shows that, of deaths involving COVID-19 up to Week 26 (week ending 26 June 2020), 63.5% (31,761 deaths) occurred in hospital, with the remainder occurring in care homes (14,852 deaths), private homes (2,288 deaths), hospices (691 deaths), other communal establishments (223 deaths), and elsewhere (185 deaths).

The proportion of deaths from all causes that occurred in care homes continued to decrease to 20.2% in Week 26. The proportion of care home deaths that involved COVID-19 also decreased; 10.5% of all deaths in care homes involved COVID-19 in Week 26, compared with 12.9% in Week 25.

Between Week 25 and Week 26, the number of deaths involving COVID-19 decreased or remained similar across all settings except for other communal establishments. The proportion of deaths involving COVID-19 occurring in hospitals increased to 62.2% in Week 26 (compared with 58.5% in Week 25). The proportion of deaths occurring in care homes also decreased (from 31.8% in Week 25 to 31.5% in Week 26).

Figure 8: The number of excess deaths decreased in all settings

Number of excess deaths by place of death between Week 1 and Week 26 of 2020 by place of occurrence, England and Wales

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In Week 26, the number of excess deaths decreased in all settings compared with Week 25. Deaths in most settings were below the five-year average, with care home deaths lower than the five-year average for the second week running since Week 11 (Week ending 13 March 2020). The only setting with excess deaths (above the five-year average) was private homes (745 deaths in Week 26, fewer than the 827 excess deaths at home seen in Week 25).

Figure 9 is based on date of death for deaths registered up to 4 July 2020, rather than date of registration. This means as more deaths are registered, deaths per day are likely to increase, especially later dates.

Looking at the average number of deaths in Week 26, deaths occurring in hospitals have accounted for 61.3% of deaths, and care homes have accounted for 32.7% of all deaths involving COVID-19 - this may change as more deaths are registered. Although we expect numbers of deaths to increase as more are registered, it currently appears that deaths per day are decreasing.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is working with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Public Health England to better understand deaths that are occurring in care homes. From 28 April, we have published counts of deaths reported by care home operators to CQC involving COVID-19. More information can be found in our Comparisons article.

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7. Deaths registered in the UK

Across the UK, there were 10,267 deaths (all causes) registered in Week 26 (ending 26 June), of which 651 deaths involved COVD-19. This was 295 deaths lower than the five-year average.

There were 5 deaths involving COVID-19 in the UK in Week 11 (ending 13 March); this increased to 9,495 deaths registered in Week 16 (ending 17 April) but has fallen to 651 deaths registered in Week 26. In Week 26, England had the highest number of deaths involving COVID-19 with 574 deaths, followed by Scotland with 35 deaths, Wales with 30 deaths and Northern Ireland with 12 deaths.

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8. Deaths data

Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional
Dataset | Released 7 July 2020
Provisional counts of the number of deaths registered in England and Wales, by age, sex and region, in the latest weeks for which data are available. Includes data on the coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths.

Death registrations and occurrences by local authority and health board
Dataset | Released 7 July 2020
Provisional counts of the number of deaths registered in England and Wales, including deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19), by local authority, health board and place of death in the latest weeks for which data are available.

Number of deaths in care homes notified to the Care Quality Commission, England
Dataset | Released 7 July 2020
Provisional counts of deaths in care homes caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) by local authority. Published by the Office for National Statistics and Care Quality Commission.

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  • Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales by age and sex: COVID-19
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  • Death registrations and occurrences by local authority and place of death
  • Death registrations and occurrences by health board and place of death
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    9. Glossary

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths are those deaths registered in England and Wales in the stated week where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death. A doctor can certify the involvement of COVID-19 based on symptoms and clinical findings - a positive test result is not required.

    Definitions of COVID-19 for deaths in Scotland and Northern Ireland are similar to England and Wales.

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    10. Measuring the data

    More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in the Mortality statistics in England and Wales QMI.

    To meet user needs, we publish very timely but provisional counts of death registrations in England and Wales in our Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional dataset. These are presented by sex, age group and regions (within England) as well as for Wales as a whole. To allow time for registration and processing, these figures are published 11 days after the week ends. Because of the rapidly changing situation, in this bulletin we have also given provisional updated totals based on the latest available death registrations, up to 4 July 2020.

    Because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, our regular weekly deaths release now provides a separate breakdown of the numbers of deaths involving COVID-19: that is, where COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, including in combination with other health conditions. If a death certificate mentions COVID-19 it will not always be the main cause of death but may be a contributory factor. This new bulletin summarises the latest weekly information and will be updated each week during the pandemic.

    These figures are different from the daily surveillance figures on COVID-19 deaths published by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on the GOV.UK website, for the UK as a whole and constituent countries. Figures in this report are derived from the formal process of death registration and may include cases where the doctor completing the death certificate diagnosed possible cases of COVID-19, for example, where this was based on relevant symptoms but no test for the virus was conducted.

    In contrast to the GOV.UK figures, we include only deaths registered in England and Wales, which is the legal remit of the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Table 1 provides an overview of the differences in definitions between sources.

    From 29 April 2020, DHSC started to publish as their daily announced figures on deaths from COVID-19for the UK, a new series that uses improved data for England produced by Public Health England (PHE). These figures provide a count of all deaths where a positive test for COVID-19 has been confirmed, wherever that death has taken place, a change from previously reporting only confirmed COVID-19 deaths in hospitals. Figures for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have already begun to include deaths outside hospitals, so this change ensured that the UK-wide series has a shared and common definitional coverage. A statement was published by the ONS which provides more detail of the changes.

    We will publish accompanying articles periodically, giving enhanced information such as age-standardised and age-specific mortality rates for recent time periods and breakdowns of deaths involving COVID-19 by associated pre-existing health conditions.

    There is usually a delay of at least five days between occurrence and registration. More information on this issue can be found in our Impact of registration delays release.

    Our User guide to mortality statistics provides further information on data quality, legislation and procedures relating to mortality and includes a glossary of terms.

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    11. Strengths and limitations

    Figures are based on the date the death was registered, not when it occurred. There is usually a delay of at least five days between occurrence and registration. More information on this issue can be found in our impact of registration delays release.

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    Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

    Sarah Caul
    health.data@ons.gov.uk
    Telephone: +44 (0)1633 456 490