Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional: week ending 5 June 2020

Provisional counts of the number of deaths registered in England and Wales, including deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19), 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:
16 June 2020

Next release:
23 June 2020

2. Main points

  • The number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 5 June 2020 (Week 23) was 10,709; this was 885 higher than Week 22 and 7.3% (732 deaths) higher than the five-year average; this increase is likely due to the Late May Bank Holiday, which occurred in Week 22.

  • Of the deaths registered in Week 23, 1,588 mentioned "novel coronavirus (COVID-19)", the lowest number of deaths involving COVID-19 in the last nine weeks; accounting for 14.8% of all deaths and 234 deaths lower than Week 22.

  • People aged 90 years and over continued to have the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in Week 23.

  • In Week 23, the proportion of deaths occurring in care homes decreased to 22.6%, while deaths involving COVID-19 as a percentage of all deaths in care homes decreased to 23.4%.

  • In Week 23, the number of deaths in care homes was 335 higher than the five-year average, while in hospitals the number of deaths was 538 fewer than the five-year average; the total number of excess deaths involving COVID-19 continued to decrease.

  • The number of deaths involving COVID-19 continued to decrease across all English regions with the number of deaths in London falling below the five-year average; the North West had the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in Week 23 (250 deaths).

  • In Wales, there were 100 deaths registered in Week 23 involving COVID-19, accounting for 14.3% of all deaths registered in Wales.

  • Of all deaths involving COVID-19 registered up to Week 23, 63.7% occurred in hospital with the remainder mainly occurring in care homes (29.6%), private homes (4.5%) and hospices (1.4%).

  • The number of deaths registered in the UK in the week ending 5 June 2020 (Week 23) was 12,092, of which 1,697 deaths involved COVID-19.

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3. Deaths registered by week

Figure 1: The number of deaths involving COVID-19 continued to decrease

Number of deaths registered by week, England and Wales, 28 December 2019 to 5 June 2020

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The provisional number of deaths registered in England and Wales increased from 9,824 in Week 22 (week ending 29 May 2020) to 10,709 in Week 23 (week ending 5 June 2020). This was 732 more deaths than the five-year average (Figure 1). More information is in Measuring the data.

The number of death registrations in Week 20 was impacted by the Early May Bank Holiday, which took place on Friday 8 May 2020 (in Week 19). The number of deaths registered on the Early May Bank Holiday fell to 88 deaths compared with 2,950 deaths registered on the previous Friday (Friday 1 May 2020). Trends seen in Week 19 and Week 20 should therefore be interpreted with caution, as deaths not registered on the Early May Bank Holiday were likely registered in the following week (Week 20). Week 22 also included a Late May Bank Holiday, which occurred on Monday 25 May 2020. This may have affected the number of death registrations, therefore, 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 1,822 in Week 22 to 1,588 in Week 23. Of all deaths registered in Week 23, 14.8% mentioned COVID-19; down from 18.5% in Week 22.

Similar patterns can be seen for England and Wales separately, with the number of deaths in England increasing from 9,228 in Week 22 to 9,995 in Week 23, which was 649 above the Week 23 average. Of the Week 23 deaths, 14.9% (1,488 deaths) involved COVID-19 in England.

In Wales, the number of deaths increased from 587 deaths in Week 22 to 700 deaths in Week 23, 90 deaths higher than the Week 23 average. Of these, 14.3% (100 deaths) involved COVID-19.

The number of deaths mentioning "Influenza and Pneumonia" on the death certificate (without COVID-19) increased from 911 in Week 22 to 1,036 in Week 23 and remained below the five-year average. The number of deaths that mentioned both "Influenza and Pneumonia" and COVID-19 on the death certificate decreased to 600, compared with 700 deaths in Week 22.

In Week 23, 24.5% of all deaths mentioned "Influenza and Pneumonia", COVID-19, or both compared with 27.8% in Week 22. "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 5 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 is 4,822 fewer than the five-year average for these weeks. However, between Weeks 13 and 23, 168,396 deaths were registered, which is 58,693 more than the five-year average. Week 23 showed a continuation of the decreasing trend in excess deaths involving COVID-19 (Figure 2). Detailed analysis of 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 5 June 2020 was 307,289, which is 53,848 more than the five-year average. Of the deaths registered by 5 June 2020, 47,387 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate; this is 15.4% of all deaths.

Looking at the year-to-date for England and Wales separately, the number of deaths for England was 288,845, which is 52,096 more than the five-year average; of these, 45,016 deaths (15.6%) mentioned COVID-19. In Wales, the number of deaths up to 5 June 2020 was 17,968, which is 2,018 more than the five-year average; of these, 2,300 deaths (12.8%) mentioned COVID-19.

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4. Deaths registered by age group

Figure 3: People aged 90 years and over continued to have the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in Week 23

Deaths by age group, England and Wales, week ending 5 June 2020

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In Week 23 (week ending 5 June 2020), the number of deaths increased in all age groups apart from those aged 1 to 4 years and aged 25 to 29 years, where deaths slightly decreased. The highest number of deaths and the highest proportion of coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths were in those aged 90 years and over, where 18.2% of deaths involved COVID-19 (404 deaths). In comparison with Week 22, the number of COVID-19 deaths decreased or remained the same for the majority of age groups, with small increases observed in ages 30 to 44 years, 50 to 54 years and 65 to 69 years.

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). However, there were more deaths in females aged 85 years and over (10,753) than males (9,193). 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

Deaths by regions in England, and Wales, week ending 5 June 2020

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Figure 6: The number of deaths involving COVID-19 registered across all English regions and Wales decreased compared with the previous week

Deaths by region in England, and Wales, week ending 5 June 2020

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In Week 23 (week ending 5 June 2020), there were 100 deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) registered in Wales. Out of the English regions, the North West had the largest number of deaths involving COVID-19 (250 deaths), while the North East region had the highest proportion of COVID-19 deaths, with 19.6% of all deaths being COVID-19-related.

In Week 23, Wales had the highest percentage of all cause deaths above the five-year average with 14.8%. In contrast, the number of deaths in Week 23 registered in London was 2.8% fewer than the five-year average, the first region in England to go below the five-year average since Week 13.

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6. Deaths registered by place of occurrence

The year-to-date analysis shows that, of deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) up to Week 23 (week ending 5 June 2020), 63.7% (30,175 deaths) occurred in hospital, with the remainder occurring in care homes (14,028 deaths), private homes (2,152 deaths), hospices (640 deaths), other communal establishments (214 deaths), and elsewhere (178 deaths).

The proportion of deaths from all causes that occurred in care homes continued to decrease to 22.6% in Week 23. The proportion of care home deaths that involved COVID-19 also decreased; 23.4% of all deaths in care homes involved COVID-19 in Week 23, compared with 28.2% in Week 22.

Between Week 22 and Week 23, there was a decrease in the number of deaths involving COVID-19 in majority of settings, with the exception of private homes and other communal establishments, which increased slightly. The proportion of deaths involving COVID-19 occurring in hospitals increased to 57.2% in Week 23 (compared with 55.1% in Week 22) but the proportion of deaths occurring in care homes decreased (from 38.7% in Week 22 to 35.5% in Week 23).

Figure 8: The number of excess deaths decreased in care homes, hospitals and other communal establishments

Number of excess deaths by place of death between Week 1 and Week 23 of 2020 by place of occurrence, England and Wales

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In Week 23, the number of excess deaths occurring in care homes, hospitals and other communal establishments decreased compared with Week 22, while excess deaths in private homes increased. The number of deaths in hospitals and other communal establishments remained below the five-year average, while deaths in care homes and private homes continued to be above the five-year average in Week 23.

Figure 9 is based on date of death for deaths registered up to 13 June 2020, rather than date of registration. This means as more deaths are registered, deaths per day are likely to increase, especially on later dates. Looking at the most recent week, on average, deaths occurring in hospitals have accounted for 59.8% of deaths and care homes have accounted for 35.1% 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 2020, 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 12,092 deaths (all cause) registered in Week 23 (ending 5 June 2020), of which 1,697 deaths involved the coronavirus (COVID-19). This was 809 more deaths than the five-year average.

There were 5 deaths involving COVID-19 in the UK in Week 11 (ending 13 March 2020); this increased to 9,495 deaths registered in Week 16 (ending 17 April 2020) but has fallen to 1,697 deaths registered in Week 23. In Week 23, England had the highest number of deaths involving COVID-19 with 1,488 deaths, followed by Wales with 100 deaths, Scotland with 89 deaths and Northern Ireland with 20 deaths.

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8. Deaths data

Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional
Dataset | Released 16 June 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 16 June 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 16 June 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. 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 13 June 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 its 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 2 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-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 ONS that 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