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Deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19)


The number of deaths involving COVID-19 in the UK decreased from 838 to 795 in the latest week (ending 13 May 2022). Deaths involving COVID-19 accounted for 5.8% of all deaths in the latest week; a decrease from 7.4% in the previous week.

The number of deaths involving COVID-19 in England decreased or remained similar in most age groups. Deaths increased in those aged 65 to 74 years. Deaths involving COVID-19 decreased in five out of nine English regions. You can read more about this on our Comparisons page.

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Deaths

There were 795 deaths involving COVID-19 registered in the UK for the week ending 13 May 2022. This is a decrease from 838 deaths in the previous week (ending 6 May 2022). Of these, 674 were registered in England, 45 in Wales, 16 in Northern Ireland and 60 in Scotland. Individual figures for England and Wales exclude deaths of non-residents, therefore the sum may differ from the total UK figure.

Last updated: 24/05/2022

Read more about this in our Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional bulletin

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Mortality rates for deaths due to COVID-19 in England increased to 56.0 deaths per 100,000 people in April 2022, from 40.7 in March 2022. In Wales, the mortality rate increased to 58.4 deaths per 100,000 people in April 2022, from 45.3 in March 2022, however, this was not significantly different.

In April 2022, COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in England (6.1% of all deaths) and Wales (5.7% of all deaths). In March 2022, COVID-19 was the sixth leading cause of death in England and Wales.

Last updated: 20/05/2022

Read more about this in our Monthly mortality analysis, England and Wales bulletin

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The proportion of deaths involving COVID-19 where COVID-19 was the underlying cause, slightly increased between March and April 2022 in England (from 63.0% to 64.2%), and in Wales (from 64.3% to 65.1%).

In England, the proportion of deaths involving COVID-19 that were also due to COVID-19 was highest in April 2020 (95.2%) and lowest in March 2022 (63.0%). In Wales, this proportion was highest in April 2020 (94.1%) and lowest in June 2021 (42.9%).

The doctor certifying a death can list all causes in the chain of events that led to the death, and pre-existing conditions that may have contributed to the death. Deaths with COVID-19 mentioned anywhere on the death certificate are defined as deaths involving COVID-19. Deaths where COVID-19 is also the underlying cause of death are defined as deaths due to COVID-19.

Last updated: 20/05/2022

Read more about this in our Monthly mortality analysis, England and Wales bulletin

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The total number of excess deaths due to all causes in England and Wales was 133,623 (March 2020 to December 2021). April 2020 and January 2021 had the highest number of excess deaths (43,796 and 16,548, respectively). These months also had the highest numbers of deaths due to COVID-19. Excess deaths were at their highest in the winter months, when the highest number of deaths are usually expected, and at their lowest in the summer months.

The relationship between COVID-19 mortality and non-COVID-19 mortality has changed over the coronavirus pandemic. When deaths due to COVID-19 were removed, April 2020 remained the month with the highest number of excess deaths. However, January 2021 had the largest number of deaths below the five-year average when COVID-19 deaths were removed.

Last updated: 22/03/2022

Read more about this in our Excess deaths, March 2020 to December 2021, England and Wales bulletin

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Risk of death involving Omicron variant was 67% lower than the Delta variant of COVID-19

Change in risk of death involving COVID-19 for Omicron relative to Delta, for the whole sample and for sex and age group, England, December 2021

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The risk of death involving COVID-19 was 67% lower following an Omicron variant infection compared with the Delta variant (December 2021). This risk was reduced more for men (75%) than for women (56%). It was also reduced more for younger age groups (by 87% for those aged 18 to 59 years and 86% for 60- to 69-year-olds) compared with those aged 70 years and over (55% reduction).

Last updated: 24/02/2022

Read more about this in our Comparing the risk of death involving COVID-19 by variant, December 2021, England bulletin

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COVID-19 and flu deaths

While COVID-19 is mentioned on fewer death certificates than flu and pneumonia, it is far more likely to be listed as the underlying cause of death

Number of deaths registered involving and due to COVID-19, and flu and pneumonia, England and Wales, week ending 13 March 2020 to week ending 1 April 2022 

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Around 6 in 10 (62%) of deaths involving COVID-19 in the week ending 1 April 2022 had COVID-19 identified as the underlying cause of death, with similar proportions throughout March. This is a decrease from 90% in spring 2020 and the early part of 2021, possibly because of booster vaccinations and high antibody levels across the population.

In the week ending 1 April 2022, a fifth of deaths involving flu and pneumonia (20%) were due to these conditions, similar to most weeks since March 2021. While the proportion of COVID-19 deaths due to the disease reduced in early 2022, it is still three times higher than the proportion for flu and pneumonia.

Last updated: 23/05/2022

Read more about this in our How coronavirus (COVID-19) compares with flu as a cause of death article

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The average age of death is lower for COVID-19 than flu and pneumonia

Mean age of deaths registered due to COVID-19 and flu and pneumonia, England and Wales, March 2020 to March 2022

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Deaths due to COVID-19 have occurred more evenly across age groups than deaths due to flu and pneumonia, although in both cases the majority of deaths have been among the oldest.

The average (mean) age of death for COVID-19 has been lower than that of flu and pneumonia throughout the pandemic. In summer 2021, the mean age of death fell to 73 years, but has been rising again since the majority of the population have been fully vaccinated to 83 years in March 2022.

While most deaths due to COVID-19 have occurred among those aged over 80 years, the increased risk of death compared with flu and pneumonia has been greatest for those aged 40 to 79 years. In January 2021, when COVID-19 deaths were at their peak, the number of deaths due to COVID-19 was nearly 32 times higher than the number due to flu and pneumonia for this age group. Among those aged over 80 years, deaths due to COVID-19 were 16 times higher than those due to flu and pneumonia.

Last updated: 23/05/2022

Read more about this in our How coronavirus (COVID-19) compares with flu as a cause of death article

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Deaths due to COVID-19 have been higher than deaths due to flu and pneumonia in any year since 1929

Number of deaths due to COVID-19, and flu and pneumonia, England and Wales, 1901 to 2021

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COVID-19 was the underlying cause of 73,766 deaths in 2020 and 67,258 deaths in 2021. The last time that deaths due to flu and pneumonia reached similar levels was 1929 (73,212 deaths).

The number of deaths due to flu and pneumonia fell below 20,000 in 2020 for the first time since 1948, before reaching a record low of 16,237 in 2021. This decrease during the pandemic could be linked to restrictions that limited social contact, therefore reducing the spread of flu.

Last updated: 23/05/2022

Read more about this in our How coronavirus (COVID-19) compares with flu as a cause of death article

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Deaths due to flu and pneumonia increased in winter 2021/22 but remained below pre-coronavirus levels

Weekly deaths registered due to flu and pneumonia, England and Wales, week ending 13 March 2020 to 1 April 2022

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The number of deaths due to flu and pneumonia increased to 6,887 in the most recent winter (December 2021 to March 2022), from 5,312 in the previous winter (December 2020 to March 2021).

However, deaths due to flu and pneumonia in both these winters remained well below levels seen before the COVID-19 pandemic. This decrease during the pandemic could be linked to restrictions that limited social contact.

While deaths due to flu and pneumonia did see a decline during the COVID-19 pandemic, our analysis shows COVID-19 led to a sharp rise in excess deaths (those above the five-year average) during the winter of 2020/21.

Last updated: 23/05/2022

Read more about this in our How coronavirus (COVID-19) compares with flu as a cause of death article

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Deaths by vaccination status

COVID-19 mortality rates lowest for those with three vaccinations

The risk of death involving coronavirus (COVID-19) in England has been consistently lower for people who had a third vaccine dose or booster at least 21 days ago, compared with those who are unvaccinated and those with only a first or second dose.

Before March 2022, people who had received a second vaccine dose but not a third dose had a higher risk of death involving COVID-19 if their second vaccine dose was over six months ago than those who had their second dose less than six months ago. This indicated possible waning protection from vaccination over time. However, from March 2022, this difference was no longer significant.

While these statistics are adjusted for age, they cannot be used to determine vaccine effectiveness. This is because vaccinated and unvaccinated people likely differ in characteristics other than age, such as health. Some deaths are expected in vaccinated individuals as the number of people who are vaccinated is high and no vaccine is 100% effective.

Last updated: 16/05/2022

Read more about this in our Deaths involving COVID-19 by vaccination status, England: deaths occurring between 1 January 2021 and 31 March 2022 bulletin

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No evidence of a change in the risk of death following COVID-19 vaccination in young people 

Relative incidence of cardiac-related and all-cause deaths in each of the 6 weeks in the risk period after the most recent vaccination received and in the risk period as a whole, compared with the baseline period. England, deaths registered up to 16 February 2022 that occurred within 12 weeks of vaccination for young people aged 12 to 29 years. 

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In young people (those aged 12 to 29 years), there is currently no evidence of a change in the risk of cardiac-related death in the six weeks after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine (up to 16 February 2022, England). There was also no evidence of an increased risk of death due to any cause following vaccination. This remained true across age groups (those aged 12 to 17 years and those aged 18 to 29 years), across vaccine doses and types, and for both males and females. 

Last updated: 22/03/2022 

Read more about this in our COVID-19 vaccination and mortality in young people during the pandemic bulletin

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Deaths by disability status

The risk of death involving COVID-19 was higher for disabled people than non-disabled people

Disabled people in England were at greater risk of death involving COVID-19 during the pandemic than non-disabled people. The risk was greater for more-disabled people than less-disabled people.  

Between 24 January 2020 and 9 March 2022, the risk of death involving COVID-19 was: 

  • 1.6 times higher for more-disabled women than for non-disabled women 

  • 1.4 times higher for more-disabled men than for non-disabled men  

  • 1.3 times higher for less-disabled men and less-disabled women compared with non-disabled men and non-disabled women  

The higher risk of death for more- and less-disabled people of both sexes compared with non-disabled people was largely unchanged across each wave of the pandemic.

Last updated: 09/05/2022

Read more about this in our Updated estimates of coronavirus (COVID-19) related deaths by disability status, England bulletin

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Pre-existing health conditions

Of deaths in England and Wales where COVID-19 was the underlying cause, the most common pre-existing condition recorded on the death certificate was symptoms, signs and ill-defined conditions (23.2%, January to March 2022). Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease was the second most common at 18.2%, followed by chronic lower respiratory diseases at 15.8% and Diabetes at 15.7%. This was the first time Diabetes was not the most common pre-existing condition since October to December 2020.

Overall, the proportion of COVID-19 deaths with no pre-existing conditions decreased in January to March 2022 (13.9%), compared with October to December 2021 (16.8%).

Pre-existing health conditions are recorded if they are believed to have made some contribution to the death. Deaths may be counted more than once as someone may have more than one pre-existing condition. Health conditions may not be included if they were not considered relevant.

Last updated: 27/04/2021

Read more about this in our Monthly mortality analysis, England and Wales: March 2022 bulletin

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Deaths by ethnicity

Deaths were highest for the Bangladeshi and Pakistani groups in the Omicron variant period

Age-standardised mortality rates of deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19) for those aged 10 to 100 years by ethnic group and sex, England: 10 January to 16 February 2022

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Patterns in rates of deaths involving COVID-19 between ethnic groups have changed over the coronavirus pandemic. Our latest analysis of the period since Omicron became the main variant shows rates of deaths involving COVID-19 were higher for many ethnic minority groups compared with the White British group (10 January to 16 February 2022). Rates of deaths were highest for the Bangladeshi and Pakistani groups. This is similar to patterns seen earlier in the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, before Omicron became the main variant.

These findings were true for males (2.7 times higher than White British for Bangladeshi and 2.2 times higher for Pakistani) and females (2.5 times higher than White British for Pakistani and 1.9 times higher for Bangladeshi).

Last updated: 07/04/2022

Read more about this in our Updated ethnic contrasts in deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19), England: since 10 January 2022 bulletin

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Suicide deaths in the pandemic

There was no evidence that the number of suicides increased between April and December 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. Between April and December 2020, the suicide rate was 9.8 deaths per 100,000 people, which is statistically significantly lower than in 2018 and 2019. This reduction was driven by a decrease in male suicides.

Male suicide rates were significantly lower during this period in 2020 (14.8 deaths per 100,000 males) than in the same periods between 2018 and 2019. Female rates during this same 2020 period (5.0 deaths per 100,000 females) showed no significant changes with earlier years.

Last updated: 14/04/2022

Read more about this in our Deaths from suicide that occurred in England and Wales: April to December 2020 bulletin

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Mortality across Europe

High levels of excess mortality were seen in Europe during January to March 2021

Relative age-standardised mortality rates by week for local authorities (NUTS3 regions) of Europe, by age group, weeks ending 3 January 2020 to 3 September 2021

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The map depicts the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) across Europe from spring 2020, starting in northern Italy, through the relative low levels of excess mortality for most countries during the summer months of 2020, followed by high levels of excess mortality in central Europe during winter 2020.

High levels of excess mortality were seen during January to March 2021 as the winter and increased cases of COVID-19 took hold across much of Europe. Portugal, countries in central Europe, and the UK were among the worst affected.

Last updated: 18/11/2021

Read more about this in our Comparisons of all-cause mortality between European countries and regions bulletin

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Further information


The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) weekly provisional counts of the number of deaths registered in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland includes all deaths with coronavirus (COVID-19) mentioned on the death certificate. Figures presented on the latest insights tool are different from the daily surveillance figures on COVID-19 deaths published by the Department of Health and Social Care, which provide daily and cumulative deaths occurring within 28 days of a positive test.

To find out more about deaths data from different sources visit our more information page.

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Contact

Latest insights team
infection.survey.analysis@ons.gov.uk