A fifth of all deaths registered over a week in November involved coronavirus, new data shows.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal that of the 12,535 deaths in England and Wales that were recorded in the week to 20 November, 2,697 mentioned coronavirus on the death certificate.
That accounts for 21.5% of all the fatalities in the two countries, and was an increase of 231 compared with the week before.
The figures cover the period at the height of England’s lockdown, which is due to end on Wednesday.
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Of the 2,697 fatalities where COVID-19 was mentioned, 2,361 recorded coronavirus as the underlying cause of death.
The total number of deaths was 20.8% above the five-year average number of fatalities, the ONS said, and 2,155 above what would normally be expected.
Deaths taking place in hospitals, care homes and private homes were also all above the five-year average.
It comes as Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove told the BBC: “Data shows the average bed capacity in the NHS, in England, in the week ending November 15 was 88% – that’s almost nine in 10 beds being occupied.”
The ONS data showed fatalities in every region of England were above the average for the second week in a row, while COVID-19 deaths increased in every part except the East of England.
In Wales, 223 deaths involved COVID-19 in the week to 20 November, 195 more than the five-year average, despite its firebreak lockdown, which took place earlier in November.
A total of 14,276 deaths were recorded across the whole of the UK in the same week, with 3,038 involving COVID-19.
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