The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has responded to quickly develop analysis of deaths and coronavirus (COVID-19) and has already included comparisons with other data sources and deaths by date of occurrence. On 16 April 2020, we published details of deaths in March where COVID-19 was the underlying cause.

We understand the need for more analysis to fully understand the pandemic. The ONS has developed an analytical programme of work to provide more insight into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mortality in England and Wales. The plan is under constant review to take account of the changing nature of the pandemic and to accommodate new data sources as they become available.

The ONS will continue to publish weekly deaths each Tuesday by deaths registered and deaths that have occurred, with specific analysis on deaths that involve COVID-19. Alongside that we will continue to publish the article comparing ONS deaths data with that of NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

In the coming weeks we are planning to release additional analysis in three areas:

  • further data on deaths in care home residences, working closely with colleagues in the Care Quality Commission and Public Health Agencies (confirmed for Tuesday 28 April)
  • further analysis on deaths involving COVID-19 by geographic breakdown and deprivation (by 1 May)
  • ethnicity of those dying where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate (by 8 May)

We also have a programme of more complex analyses of death involving COVID-19, which are looking at important themes including:

  • investigating excess deaths not involving COVID-19
  • occupation of people whose death involved COVID-19
  • analysing the religion of those dying with COVID-19
  • understanding the characteristics of people whose death involved COVID-19
  • the impact of air pollution on death involving COVID-19

These pieces of analysis are complex requiring multiple data sources. The analysis is underway, and we will be able to make further announcements in the coming weeks as to when these will be released.

Iain Bell
Deputy National Statistician