UK’s wider Covid-19 death toll passes 160,000

·3-min read
A woman walks past the Covid memorial wall in Westminster, London (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)
A woman walks past the Covid memorial wall in Westminster, London (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)

More than 160,000 people in the UK have had Covid-19 recorded on their death certificate, new figures show.

The total was passed on September 7, but has only now been confirmed due to the time it takes for deaths to be registered.

The figures, which have been published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), show that 160,374 deaths involving coronavirus have occurred in the UK since the pandemic began.

This includes all deaths where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, including suspected cases.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

The ONS figures provide the fullest picture so far of how the Covid-19 pandemic has unfolded in the UK.

They are a more comprehensive measure of deaths than the numbers published daily by the Government which count only those who died within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus, and which currently stands at a total of 135,252.

Analysis of the figures by the PA news agency shows how the number of deaths has slowed dramatically since the spring, despite the increase in new cases of Covid-19 in recent months.

The cumulative total passed 100,000 on January 6 and reached 125,000 just 20 days later on January 26.

It took a further 42 days to reach 150,000 on March 9.

But it then took nearly six months to reach 160,000 on September 7.

There were 57,896 deaths during the first wave of the virus (to August 31 2020) and 95,799 in the second wave (September 1 2020 to May 16 2021).

Since May 17 – the start of the third wave – 6,679 deaths have taken place.

(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)

The ONS figures run up to September 10, and are likely to be revised upwards as more deaths are registered.

The relatively low number of deaths in the third wave of the virus, when compared with both the first and second waves, reflects the success of the rollout of coronavirus vaccines across the country.

Vaccinations in England are estimated to have directly averted 112,300 deaths, according to latest research by Cambridge University and Public Health England.

The number of Covid-19 deaths has been rising slowly in recent weeks, however.

An average of 142 deaths are currently being reported each day of people who died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, Government figures show.

This compares with an average of 98 a month ago and 49 two months earlier.

During the second wave, the average peaked at 1,248 deaths on January 23.

Separate figures from the ONS show that 857 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending September 10 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate.

This is up 30% on the previous week, but the change will have been affected by the bank holiday on August 30 when register offices were likely to be closed, the ONS said.

Around one in 13 (7.8%) of all deaths registered in England and Wales in the week to September 10 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate.

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