Coronavirus was linked to a third of all deaths in England and Wales in the week up to April 10, with the total number of care home deaths increasing almost six-fold in seven days, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
There were 18,516 deaths provisionally registered in England and Wales in the week ending April 10 – 7,996 deaths more than the five-year average and the highest weekly total since 2000.
Of the deaths registered in the week ending April 10, 6,213 mentioned “novel coronavirus (Covid-19)”, which is around a third (33.6%) of all deaths.
This is up from 3,475 (21.2% of all deaths) last week.
And there were more than 1,000 coronavirus-related care home deaths registered up to April 10, up from 217 the week before.
This week’s figures show the proportion of Covid-19-related deaths taking place outside hospitals has risen from 10% to 16%.
Latest weekly figures from the Office for National Statistics show there were 1,662 deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales registered up to April 10 which occurred outside hospitals, and 8,673 (83.9%) in hospitals.
Of the deaths outside hospitals 1,043 took place in care homes, 466 in private homes, 87 in hospices, 21 in other communal establishments, and 45 elsewhere.
Last week’s figures showed there were 217 deaths registered in care homes, 33 in hospices, 136 in private homes, three in other communal establishments and 17 elsewhere up to April 3.
The ONS figures also show there were 12,516 deaths involving Covid-19 in England up to April 10 (and which were registered up to April 18), compared with 10,260 deaths in hospitals in England for the same period, reported by NHS England.
The ONS total is 22% higher than the total published by NHS England.
This is because the ONS figures include all mentions of Covid-19 on a death certificate, including suspected Covid-19, as well as deaths in the community.
The ONS said the numbers are based on where Covid-19 is mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, including in combination with other health conditions.
The NHS figures only include deaths in hospitals where a patient has been tested for Covid-19.
Overall, 13,121 deaths involving Covid-19 have occurred in England and Wales up to April 10, and registered up to April 18.
This is 41% higher than the 9,288 people who died in UK hospitals during the same period reported by the Department of Health.
The steep rise in Covid-19-related care home deaths has caused the overall number of care home deaths to double in four weeks, the ONS said.
Between when the first Covid-19 deaths were registered, and the week ending April 10, the number of deaths in care homes has doubled from 2,471 deaths to 4,927.
Weâre working with the @CareQualityComm (CQC) to better understand deaths occurring in care homes. From 28 April, we will publish counts of deaths involving #COVID19 in care homes, based on reporting from care home operators to the CQC https://t.co/HDbeiZn611 #coronavirus— Office for National Statistics (ONS) (@ONS) April 21, 2020
Over the same period, there has been a 72.4% increase in deaths occurring in hospitals (4,975 deaths to 8,578), and a 51.1% increase in deaths occurring in private homes (2,725 deaths to 4,117).
Overall, deaths in care homes made up more than a quarter (26.6%) of all deaths registered in the week ending April 10.
From April 28, the ONS will publish counts of deaths involving Covid-19 in care homes, based on deaths reported by care home operators to the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Of the excess 7,996 deaths compared to the five-year average, more than 6,000 were linked to Covid-19.
Martin Hibberd, Professor of Emerging Infectious Disease at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “With limited testing being carried out, it may be that all of the 7,996 excess deaths were directly due to Covid-19, but it is also likely that at least some of these were indirectly involved, such as through inability to access typical medical care for other conditions because of Covid-19 activities.”
Liz Kendall MP, Labour’s shadow minister for social care, commenting on the ONS statistics showing a large increase in Covid-19 deaths in care homes, said: “This shows the terrible toll that Coronavirus is having on elderly and disabled people in care homes.
“Yet these awful figures are only scratching the surface of the emerging crisis in social care, because they are already 11 days out of date.
“The Government must now publish daily figures of Covid-19 deaths outside hospital, including in care homes, so we know the true scale of the problem.
“This is essential to tackling the spread of the virus, ensuing social care has the resources it needs and getting vital PPE and testing to care workers on the frontline.”