Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional: week ending 17 July 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.

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This is an accredited national statistic.

Contact:
Email Sarah Caul

Release date:
28 July 2020

Next release:
4 August 2020

1. Main points

  • The number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 17 July 2020 (Week 29) was 8,823, this was 133 deaths more than Week 28.

  • In Week 29, the number of deaths registered was 3.0% below the five-year average (270 deaths fewer), this is the fifth consecutive week that deaths have been below the five-year average; the number of deaths in care homes, hospitals and other communal establishments was also fewer than the five-year average, while the number of deaths in private homes was 766 higher than the five-year average.

  • Of the deaths registered in Week 29, 295 mentioned "novel coronavirus (COVID-19)", the lowest number of deaths involving COVID-19 in the last 17 weeks and a 19.4% decrease compared with Week 28 (366 deaths), accounting for 3.3% of all deaths in England and Wales.

  • In Week 29, the proportion of deaths occurring in care homes increased to 20.2%, while deaths involving COVID-19 as a percentage of all deaths in care homes decreased to 5.1%.

  • The number of deaths involving COVID-19 decreased or remained the same across all English regions, except for the South East and South West. Seven of the nine regions had fewer overall deaths than the five-year average.

  • In Wales, the total number of deaths was below the five-year average (seven deaths fewer) for Week 29, while the number of deaths involving COVID-19 decreased to 11 deaths registered (from 22 deaths in Week 28).

  • Of all deaths involving COVID-19 registered up to Week 29, 63.4% occurred in hospital with the remainder mainly occurring in care homes (29.7%), private homes (4.7%) and hospices (1.4%).

  • The number of deaths registered in the UK in the week ending 17 July 2020 (Week 29) was 10,080, which was fewer than the five-year average (by 239 deaths); of the deaths registered in the UK in Week 29, 303 deaths involved COVID-19.

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2. Deaths registered by week

Figure 1: The number of deaths in England and Wales involving COVID-19 decreased for the 13th consecutive week

Number of deaths registered by week, England and Wales, 28 December 2019 to 17 July 2020

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The provisional number of deaths registered in England and Wales increased from 8,690 in Week 28 (week ending 10 July 2020) to 8,823 in Week 29 (week ending 17 July 2020). The number of deaths was 3.0% below the five-year average (270 fewer deaths) (Figure 1). This is the fifth consecutive week that weekly deaths have been below the five-year average.

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 COVID-19. These deaths occurring earlier than expected could contribute to a period of deaths below the five-year average.

The number of death registrations involving COVID-19 decreased from 366 in Week 28 to 295 in Week 29, the lowest number of COVID-19 deaths registered since Week 12 (week ending 20 March) when 103 deaths involved COVID-19. Of all deaths registered in Week 29, 3.3% mentioned COVID-19, down from 4.2% in Week 28.

In England, the number of deaths increased from 8,103 in Week 28 to 8,262 in week 29, which was 240 deaths fewer than the Week 29 average. Of the Week 29 deaths, 3.4% (284 deaths) involved COVID-19 in England.

In Wales, the number of deaths decreased by 22 deaths in Week 29 to 550 deaths, seven deaths fewer than the five-year average. Of these, 2.0% (11 deaths) involved COVID-19.

In Week 29, 13.3% of all deaths mentioned "Influenza and Pneumonia", COVID-19, or both, compared with 14.8% in Week 28. "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 17 July 2020

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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 29, 223,343 deaths were registered which was 58,000 more than the five-year average. Week 29 showed a continuation of the decreasing trend in excess deaths with 270 fewer deaths than the five-year average (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 17 July was 362,229, which is 53,148 more than the five-year average. Of the deaths registered by 17 July 2020, 51,264 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate, 14.2% 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 340,267, which is 51,454 (17.8%) more than the five-year average. Of these, 48,692 deaths (14.3%) mentioned COVID-19. In Wales, the number of deaths up to 17 July was 21,416, which is 2,044 (10.6%) more than the five-year average; of these 2,496 deaths (11.7%) mentioned COVID-19.

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3. Deaths registered by age group

In Week 29, the number of deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) in England and Wales decreased or remained the same across all age groups, except for those aged 45 to 49 years, where an increase of six deaths was seen compared with Week 28. The number of deaths involving COVID-19 remained mostly higher in the older age groups than in younger age groups. The highest proportions of deaths involving COVID-19 were of people aged 45 to 49 years, 80 to 84 years, and 90 years and over, where 4.3%, 4.1% and 4.2% of deaths in these age groups 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 3). Across Weeks 1 to 29 of 2020, 55.0% of all deaths involving COVID-19 were males. However, there were more deaths in females aged 85 years and over (11,737) than males aged 85 years and over (9,940). This could be because the over-85 years female population (939,000) is larger than the over-85 male population (564,000) in England and Wales.

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4. Deaths by region in England and Wales

Figure 4: The number of deaths involving COVID-19 registered across the majority of English regions decreased or remained the same, except for the South East and South West

Number of deaths by regions in England, and Wales, registered between 28 December 2019 to 17 July 2020

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In Week 29 (week ending 17 July 2020), there were 11 deaths involving COVID-19 registered in Wales. Out of the English regions, the South East had the largest number of deaths involving COVID-19 (69 deaths). The South East also had the highest proportion of deaths involving COVID-19 (5.2%). More detailed geographical analysis between 1 March and 30 June 2020 can be found in our Deaths involving COVID-19 by local area and socioeconomic deprivation release.

The number of deaths registered in Week 29 was lower than the five-year average for all English regions, except for the East Midlands and West Midlands. The North East had the highest percentage of deaths below the five-year average (9.7%). In Wales, the number of deaths registered in Week 29 was 1.3% lower than the five-year average (Table 1).

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5. Deaths registered by place of occurrence

The year-to-date analysis shows that, of deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) up to Week 29 (week ending 17 July 2020), 63.4% (32,513 deaths) occurred in hospital, with the remainder occurring in care homes (15,216 deaths), private homes (2,389 deaths), hospices (720 deaths), other communal establishments (231 deaths), and elsewhere (195 deaths).

Between Week 28 to 29, the number of deaths involving COVID-19 decreased or remained the same across all settings. Deaths involving COVID-19 in hospitals as a proportion of all deaths in hospitals decreased from 6.7% in Week 28 to 5.1% in Week 29. Deaths involving COVID-19 in care homes as a proportion of all deaths in care homes also decreased from 5.8% to 5.1% in Week 29. Detailed analysis on deaths of care home residents is available in Deaths involving COVID-19 in the care sector, England and Wales: deaths occurring up to 12 June 2020 and registered up to 20 June 2020.

As well as Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) provides numbers of deaths involving COVID-19 in care homes in England that are based on the date the death was notified to the CQC. From 10 April 2020 (the first day when data were collected using the CQC's new method of identifying deaths involving COVID-19) to the 24 July, there were 14,045 deaths of residents in care homes involving COVID-19. Of these deaths, 40 were notified in the week up to 24 July. More information on the data provided by the CQC can be found in our joint transparency statement.

In Wales, the Welsh Government publishes the number of deaths of care home residents involving COVID-19 notified to the Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW). Between 17 March and 17 July, there were 501 deaths of residents in care homes involving COVID-19.

More information on how these numbers have compared throughout the pandemic can be found in our previous Comparison of weekly death occurrences in England and Wales release.

Figure 5: The number of excess deaths increased in all settings in Week 29

Number of excess deaths by place of occurrence, England and Wales, registered between 28 December 2019 to 17 July 2020

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In Week 29, the number of excess deaths increased in all settings compared with Week 28. Despite these increases, deaths in most settings remained below the five-year average apart from deaths in private homes, which were above the five-average for the fifth consecutive week with 766 excess deaths. More detailed analysis of excess deaths in England is produced by Public Health England (PHE) on a weekly basis.

Figure 6 is based on date of death for deaths registered up to 25 July 2020, rather than date of registration. This means as more deaths are registered, deaths per day are likely to increase, especially for later dates. Looking at the average number of deaths in Week 29, deaths occurring in hospitals have accounted for 61.3% of deaths, and care homes have accounted for 28.9% 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.

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6. Deaths registered in the UK

Across the UK, there were 10,080 deaths (all causes) registered in Week 29 (ending 17 July 2020), of which 303 deaths involved COVID-19. This was 239 fewer deaths than the UK five-year average.

In Week 29, England had the highest number of deaths involving COVID-19 with 284 deaths, followed by Wales with 11 deaths, Scotland with six deaths and Northern Ireland with two deaths.

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7. Comparison of weekly death occurrences in England and Wales

We previously published this section as a separate article on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) website, which provided a more thorough description of the differences between different data sources. This section will look at the number of deaths by date of death produced by the ONS compared with death notifications reported by the Department of Health and Social care (DHSC). For Wales, we can also compare the reconciled DHSC data by date of death released by Public Health Wales (PHW).

In England, including deaths that occurred up to 17 July 2020 but were registered up to 25 July, of those we have processed so far, the number involving COVID-19 was 48,790; the comparative number of death notifications reported by the DHSC on GOV.UK was 40,680.

In Wales, including deaths that occurred up to 17 July but were registered up to 25 July, of those we have processed so far, the number involving COVID-19 was 2,501; the comparative number of death notifications reported by the DHSC on GOV.UK was 1,546 and PHW numbers, which come from the same source as the DHSC figures but are continuously updated, showed 1,547 deaths.

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8. Deaths data

Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional
Dataset | Released 28 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 28 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 28 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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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 certificate. 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 25 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.

From 29 April 2020, the DHSC started to publish as their daily announced figures on deaths from COVID-19 for 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 Office for National Statistics (ONS), which provides more detail of the changes.

In contrast to the GOV.UK figures, we include only deaths registered in England and Wales, which is the legal remit of the ONS. Tables 2 and 3 provide an overview of the differences in definitions between sources.

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 456490