1. Main points
In the week ending 23 December 2022 (Week 51), 14,530 deaths were registered in England and Wales; 429 of these deaths mentioned "novel coronavirus (COVID-19)", accounting for 3.0% of all deaths.
This is an increase in all deaths compared with the week ending 16 December 2022 (Week 50), when the number of all-cause deaths registered was 12,389; COVID-19 accounted for 390 of these deaths (3.1%).
Of the 429 deaths involving COVID-19 in Week 51, 71.8% (308 deaths) had this recorded as the underlying cause of death, which was a greater proportion when compared with Week 50 (66.9%).
The number of deaths was above the five-year average in private homes (37.5% above, 1,120 excess deaths), hospitals (18.8% above, 1,031 excess deaths), care homes (10.5% above; 282 excess deaths) and other settings (7.0% above, 61 excess deaths) in Week 51 in England and Wales.
Deaths due to influenza and pneumonia have increased in recent weeks, to 829 deaths in the week ending 23 December, an increase of 329 deaths compared to week ending 9 December (500 deaths).
Because of the bank holidays, data for Scotland are not available so we cannot provide a Scotland or UK figure for Week 51, these data will be updated in the next publication being released on 10 January 2023.
2. Deaths registered in England and Wales
In the week ending 23 December 2022 (Week 51), 14,530 deaths were registered in England and Wales. Of these, 13,530 were registered in England and 961 were registered in Wales (Table 1).
|Week 51 2022||England and Wales||England||Wales|
|Total deaths (all causes)||14,530||13,530||961|
|Total deaths above 5 year average||2,493||2,272||206|
|Percentage change compared to 5-year average (2016 to 2019 and 2021)||20.7%||20.2%||27.3%|
|Deaths involving COVID-19||429||397||32|
|Percentage of deaths involving COVID-19||3.0%||2.9%||3.3%|
|Total deaths (Week 11 2020 to Week 51 2022)||1,650,531||1,546,351||101,619|
|Total involving COVID-19 (Week 11 2020 to Week 51 2022)||193,299||181,755||11,218|
|Total deaths above 5 year average (Week 11 2020 to Week 51 2022)||168,011||160,668||8,608|
Download this table Table 1: Deaths registered in England and Wales, week ending 23 December 2022 (Week 51 2022).xls .csv
The number of deaths from all causes was above the five-year average in the week ending 23 December 2022 (Week 51). Figure 1 shows the number of deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19) and not involving COVID-19.
Figure 1: Total deaths from all causes were above the five-year average in Week 51
Number of deaths registered by week, England and Wales, 28 December 2019 to 23 December 2022
- Figures include deaths of non-residents.
- Based on date a death was registered rather than occurred.
- All figures are provisional.
- The International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition (ICD-10) definitions are available in the Measuring the data section.
- The number of deaths registered in a week are affected when bank holidays occur.
- The average for 2015 to 2019 is used for comparisons with 2020 and 2021.
- The average for 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021 is used for comparisons with 2022.
Download the dataBack to table of contents
3. Deaths data
Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional
Dataset | Released 5 January 2023
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 coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths.
Death registrations and occurrences by local authority and health board
Dataset | Released 5 January 2023
Provisional counts of the number of deaths registered in England and Wales, including deaths involving 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 5 January 2023
Provisional counts of deaths in care homes caused by COVID-19 by local authority. Published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Care home resident deaths registered in England and Wales, provisional
Dataset | Released 5 January 2023
Provisional counts of the number of care home resident deaths.
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Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales by age and sex: COVID-19
Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales by region: COVID-19
Death registrations and occurrences by local authority and place of death
Coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths
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.Back to table of contents
5. Measuring the data
We publish timely, provisional counts of death registrations in our Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional dataset. These are presented:
by age group
for regions (within England)
for Wales as a whole
To allow time for registration and processing, figures are published 11 days after the week ends. We also provide provisional updated totals for death occurrences based on the latest available death registrations, up to 24 December.
The five-year average shows us the expected number of deaths per week based on the most recent years and smooths random year-on-year fluctuations. We use the 2015 to 2019 five-year average as a usual non-coronavirus (COVID-19) period to compare with. The further we move away from this period, the less robust the measure is because of changes in population numbers, age, and structure.
Deaths registered in 2022 will be compared with the 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021 five-year average. As 2021 was a coronavirus pandemic year, other comparisons are also used including week-by-week and 2021 only.
The number of registration days in a reference period can affect mortality statistics. Bank holidays can affect the number of registrations because registration offices are closed.
This weekly release provides a breakdown of the number of deaths involving coronavirus. This includes deaths 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.
The number of weeks in the year will affect how many days the data cover in the year. Leap years require a 53rd week to be added to the end of the calendar year. The last leap year was in 2020. It is more appropriate to compare 2020 figures with the average for week 52 than with a single year from five years previously. Read more on the data coverage for the weekly deaths bulletin in our Coronavirus and mortality in England and Wales methodology (Section 1).
Influenza and pneumonia have been included for comparison in our Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional dataset. These illnesses are a well understood cause of death involving respiratory infection likely to have somewhat similar risk factors to COVID-19.
This bulletin is based mainly on the date that deaths are registered, not the date of death. Deaths in England and Wales are normally registered within five days. There can be a longer delay, particularly if the death is referred to a coroner. Read more in our Impact of registration delays on mortality statistics article.
We have developed a statistical model to estimate the number of deaths likely to have occurred in each week based on the previous pattern of registration delays, including the effects of bank holidays. Read more in our Predicting total weekly death occurrences in England and Wales methodology. Results are shown in sheet 11 of our Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional dataset.
From the week ending 26 February 2021 (Week 8), new International Classification of Diseases codes for COVID-19 issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) were used for deaths involving COVID-19. Read more in our Coronavirus and mortality in England and Wales methodology.
For further information on data quality, legislation and procedures relating to mortality, and a glossary of terms, view our User guide to mortality statistics methodologyBack to table of contents
6. Strengths and limitations
These weekly figures are for England and Wales only. They are from the formal death registration process and may include cases where the doctor completing the death certificate diagnosed possible cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), for example, based on relevant symptoms, but where no test was conducted. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures are different from the daily surveillance figures on COVID-19 deaths published by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on GOV.UK, which are for the UK as a whole and its constituent countries.
On 1 February 2022, the UK Health Security Agency technical summary data series was revised to include deaths of positively tested individuals where the death occurred within 28 days, and deaths within 60 days of a positive test. Read more in the UK Health Security Agency technical summary (PDF, 443KB).
Some definitions of COVID-19 deaths differ between sources and settings. Read more in our Coronavirus and mortality in England and Wales methodology.
More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in our Mortality statistics in England and Wales QMI.Back to table of contents
8. Cite this statistical bulletin
Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 5 January 2023, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional: week ending 23 December 2022
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
Telephone: +44 1329 444110