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Deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19)


The number of deaths involving COVID-19 in the UK decreased from 414 to 347 in the latest week (ending 16 September 2022). Deaths involving COVID-19 accounted for 2.9% of all deaths in the latest week; this is a decrease from 3.4% in the previous week. However, the number of death registrations in the previous week (ending 9 September 2022) was affected by the bank holiday on 29 August 2022, and caution is needed when comparing across weeks.

In England, deaths involving COVID-19 remained low across groups aged under 45 years, while trends varied for groups aged 45 years and over. Deaths increased in Yorkshire and The Humber, remained similar in the North East, and decreased in all other English regions. You can read more about this on our Comparisons page.

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Deaths

Deaths involving COVID-19 decreased in the UK

Number of deaths registered by week, UK, week ending 13 March 2020 to 16 September 2022

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There were 347 deaths involving COVID-19 registered in the UK in the week ending 16 September 2022. Of these, 280 were registered in England, 20 in Wales, 6 in Northern Ireland, and 40 in Scotland. This is a decrease from 414 deaths registered in the UK in the previous week (ending 9 September 2022).

The number of death registrations in the previous week (ending 9 September 2022) was affected by the bank holiday on 29 August 2022. Caution is needed when comparing across weeks, and with the five-year average.

The number of deaths registered in the UK in the week ending 16 September 2022 was 12,133, which was 10.1% above the five-year average (1,115 excess deaths). Deaths involving COVID-19 accounted for 2.9% of all deaths in the UK in the latest week; this is a decrease from 3.4% in the previous week.

Last updated: 27/09/2022

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

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The proportion of deaths involving COVID-19 that were due to COVID-19 decreased in England and remained similar in Wales in August 2022

Percentage of deaths involving COVID-19 that were due to COVID-19, England and Wales, deaths registered in March 2020 to August 2022

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The proportion of deaths involving COVID-19 where COVID-19 was the underlying cause decreased between July and August 2022 in England (from 64.1% to 62.4%), and remained similar in Wales (from 60.2% to 60.4%).

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 June 2022 (59.0%). In Wales, this proportion was highest in April 2020 (94.1%) and lowest in June 2021 (42.9%).

The first deaths involving COVID-19 were registered in England and Wales in March 2020. Since then, COVID-19 has been the underlying cause of most deaths involving COVID-19 (85.4% in England, 84.0% in Wales).

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: 23/09/2022

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

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Mortality rates for deaths due to COVID-19 in England decreased to 30.5 deaths per 100,000 people in August 2022, from 32.6 deaths per 100,000 people in July 2022. However, this decrease was not significant. The COVID-19 mortality rate in England is less than half the rate of January 2022 (79.3 deaths per 100,000 people).

In Wales, the COVID-19 mortality rate decreased to 29.6 deaths per 100,000 people in August 2022, compared with 36.1 deaths per 100,000 people in July 2022. However, this decrease was not significant. The COVID-19 mortality rate in Wales is around half the rate of January 2022 (72.2 deaths per 100,000 people).

In August 2022, COVID-19 remained the sixth leading cause of death in England (3.3% of all deaths). In Wales, COVID-19 was the seventh leading cause of death in August 2022 (3.0% of all deaths), falling from the sixth leading cause in July 2022.

Last updated: 23/09/2022

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

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Deaths by age

Deaths remain highest for those aged 85 years and over

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Trends in deaths involving COVID-19 in England varied across age groups in the week ending 16 September 2022. Deaths involving COVID-19:

  • remained low across groups aged under 45 years

  • remained similar for those aged 55 to 64 years

  • decreased in groups aged 45 to 54 years, 65 to 74 years, and 85 years and over

  • increased for those aged 75 to 84 years

However, the number of death registrations in the previous week (ending 9 September 2022) was affected by the bank holiday on 29 August 2022, and caution is needed when comparing across weeks.

Deaths involving COVID-19 were highest for those aged 85 years and over (113 deaths) and lowest for groups aged under 25 years, where there were none (week ending 16 September 2022). This has been consistent throughout the coronavirus pandemic and reflects the highest overall hospital admission rates in the oldest age groups.

You can read about trends by age group for infections and hospital admissions on our Comparisons page.

Last updated: 27/09/2022

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

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Excess deaths

There was a total of 137,447 excess deaths due to all causes registered in England and Wales between the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (March 2020) and June 2022. If deaths due to COVID-19 were removed, deaths were 7,360 below average. If deaths involving COVID-19 were removed, deaths were 31,397 below average.

Deaths due to COVID-19 are those where it is the underlying cause of death, whereas deaths involving COVID-19 are those where it is mentioned anywhere on the death certificate and can include deaths with a different underlying cause.

April 2020 (43,796 excess deaths) and January 2021 (16,546 excess deaths) had the highest numbers of excess deaths, corresponding with the highest numbers of deaths due to COVID-19.

Up-to-date figures on excess deaths are available within our Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales bulletin, with comparisons with the five-year average.

Last updated: 20/09/2022

Read more about this in our Excess deaths in England and Wales: March 2020 to June 2022 bulletin

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Private homes saw the highest number of excess deaths not due to COVID-19 throughout the pandemic

Excess deaths by place of death excluding deaths due to COVID-19, England and Wales, March 2020 to June 2022

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There is evidence that deaths unrelated to COVID-19 usually expected to have occurred in hospitals shifted to other places throughout the pandemic, in particular private homes.

Considering deaths due to causes other than COVID-19 registered between March 2020 and June 2022 in England and Wales:

  • private homes saw 89,253 excess deaths, 30.2% above the five-year average

  • hospitals saw 83,827 fewer deaths, 14.6% below the five-year average

  • hospices saw 10,936 fewer deaths, 16.1% below the five-year average

  • care homes saw 8,557 fewer deaths, 3.2% below the five-year average

Deaths occurring “‘elsewhere’” include all places not covered in other categories, such as a death in someone else’s home or those who are pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.

Last updated: 20/09/2022

Read more about this in our Excess deaths in England and Wales: March 2020 to June 2022 bulletin

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COVID-19 death in triple-vaccinated individuals

Age is the greatest risk factor for COVID-19 death among triple-vaccinated individuals

Analysis of triple-vaccinated individuals in England showed that between January and March 2022, age was the characteristic most associated with the risk of death involving COVID-19. The risk was over 30 times greater in those aged 80 years compared with those aged 50 years.

The risk of death involving COVID-19 was also higher for triple-vaccinated individuals who:

  • had certain health conditions, including severe combined immunodeficiency, cancer of blood or bone marrow, and dementia

  • were living in more deprived areas

There was no association between risk of death involving COVID-19 and ethnicity, except for those of Indian ethnicity, who were at slightly higher risk than the White group.

Last updated: 08/09/2022

Read more about this in our Characteristics associated with the risk of deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19) among people receiving a booster vaccination, England: January to March 2022 bulletin

Suicide registration

Suicides did not increase as a result of the coronavirus pandemic

In 2021, there were 5,583 suicides registered in England and Wales, equivalent to a rate of 10.7 deaths per 100,000 people. This is similar to the pre-pandemic rates in 2019 and 2018.

The suicide rate in 2021 was higher than the 2020 rate of 10.0 deaths per 100,000 people. This fall in 2020 was likely influenced by a fall in male suicides at the start of the pandemic, and delays in death registrations because of the pandemic.

The data for 2021 include suicides that occurred in 2020 but were not registered until 2021 because of disruption from the pandemic. This shows that the suicide rate did not increase as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last updated: 06/09/2022

Read more about this in our Suicides in England and Wales: 2021 registrations

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 (25.2%, April to June 2022). Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease was the second most common at 17.1%.

Overall, the proportion of COVID-19 deaths with no pre-existing conditions decreased in April to June 2022 (12.1%), compared with January to March 2022 (13.9%).

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: 25/07/2022

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