Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional: week ending 25 September 2020

Provisional counts of the number of deaths registered in England and Wales, including deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, by age, sex and region, in the latest weeks for which data are available.

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Cyswllt:
Email Sarah Caul

Dyddiad y datganiad:
6 October 2020

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
13 October 2020

1. Main points

  • The number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 25 September 2020 (Week 39) was 9,634; this was 111 more deaths than in Week 38.

  • In Week 39, the number of deaths registered was 2.7% above the five-year average (257 deaths higher).

  • Of the deaths registered in Week 39, 215 mentioned "novel coronavirus (COVID-19)", accounting for 2.2% of all deaths in England and Wales; this is an increase compared with Week 38 (76 deaths higher).

  • The numbers of deaths in hospitals and care homes were below the five-year average in Week 39 (416 and 71 fewer deaths respectively), while the number of deaths in private homes remained above the five-year average (749 more deaths).

  • The number of deaths involving COVID-19 increased in eight of the nine English regions; the East and London were the only English regions to have lower overall deaths than the five-year average.

  • In Wales, the number of deaths involving COVID-19 increased from five deaths (Week 38) to 12 deaths (Week 39), while the total number of deaths in Week 39 was 13 more deaths than the five-year average.

  • The number of deaths registered in the UK in the week ending 25 September 2020 (Week 39) was 10,861, which was 179 deaths higher than the five-year average and 77 deaths higher than Week 38; of the deaths registered in the UK in Week 39, 234 deaths involved COVID-19, 76 deaths higher than Week 38.

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2. Deaths registered by week

Figure 1: Deaths in England and Wales involving COVID-19 increased for the third consecutive week

Number of deaths registered by week, England and Wales, 28 December 2019 to 25 September 2020

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The provisional number of deaths registered in England and Wales increased from 9,523 in Week 38 (week ending 18 September 2020) to 9,634 in Week 39 (week ending 25 September 2020) (Figure 1). The number of deaths was 2.7% above the five-year average (257 deaths higher).

The number of death registrations in England and Wales involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) increased from 139 in Week 38 to 215 in Week 39 (a 54.7% increase). Of all deaths registered in Week 39, 2.2% mentioned COVID-19.

In England, the number of deaths increased from 8,955 in Week 38 to 9,005 in Week 39, which was 211 deaths above the Week 39 five-year average. Of the Week 39 deaths, 2.3% (203 deaths) involved COVID-19 in England.

In Wales, the number of deaths increased from 555 in Week 38 to 617 in Week 39, which was 13 deaths higher than the five-year average (604 deaths). Of these, 1.9% (12 deaths) involved COVID-19.

In Week 39, in England and Wales, 14.4% of all deaths mentioned "Influenza and Pneumonia", COVID-19 or both, compared with 13.3% in Week 38. "Influenza and Pneumonia" has been included for comparison, as a well-understood cause of death involving respiratory infection that is likely to have somewhat similar risk factors to COVID-19.

Figure 2: Deaths not involving COVID-19 remained above the five-year average

Number of deaths registered by week, England and Wales, 28 December 2019 to 25 September 2020

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Between Weeks 1 and 12, 138,916 deaths were registered, which was 4,822 fewer than the five-year average for these weeks. However, between Weeks 13 and 39, 314,887 deaths were registered, which was 58,742 more than the five-year average.

Looking at the year-to-date (using the most up-to-date data we have available), the number of deaths up to 25 September 2020 was 453,771, which is 53,888 more than the five-year average. Of the deaths registered by 25 September, 52,856 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate, 11.6% of all deaths in England and Wales.

Looking at the year-to-date for England and Wales separately, the number of deaths for England was 425,995, which is 52,345 (14.0%) more than the five-year average. Of these, 50,195 (11.8%) mentioned COVID-19. In Wales, the number of deaths up to 25 September 2020 was 27,114, which is 2,049 (8.2%) more than the five-year average; of these, 2,587 deaths (9.5%) mentioned COVID-19.

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3. Deaths registered by age group

In Week 39, the number of deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) in England and Wales increased or remained similar across the majority of age groups, compared with Week 38, with the biggest increase seen in those aged 90 years and over (22 more deaths). The number of deaths involving COVID-19 remained higher in the older age groups, with those aged 80 years and over accounting for the highest number of deaths involving COVID-19 (58.6%).

Looking at the year-to-date, for most age groups there have been more deaths involving COVID-19 in males than in females (Figure 3). Across Weeks 1 to 39 of 2020, 55.1% of all deaths involving COVID-19 were in males. However, there were more deaths in females aged 85 years and over (12,067) than males aged 85 years and over (10,243). This could be because the over-85-years female population (939,000) is larger than the over-85-years male population (564,000) in England and Wales.

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4. Deaths by region in England and Wales

Figure 4: The number of deaths in Week 39 increased in Wales and the majority of the English regions

Number of deaths in Wales and regions in England, registered between 28 December 2019 and 25 September 2020

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In Week 39 (week ending 25 September 2020), there were 12 deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) registered in Wales. Out of the English regions, the North West had the largest number of deaths involving COVID-19 (60 deaths), and the highest proportion of deaths involving COVID-19 (4.7%). More detailed geographic analysis between 1 March and 31 July 2020 can be found in our Deaths involving COVID-19 by local area and socioeconomic deprivation release.

The number of deaths registered in Week 39 was higher than the five-year average in all English regions except for the East and London, which were below the five-year average (1.7% and 0.3% lower, respectively). In Wales, the number of deaths registered in Week 39 was 2.2% (13 deaths) above the five-year average (Table 1).

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5. Deaths registered by place of occurrence

The year-to-date analysis shows that, of deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) up to Week 39 (week ending 25 September 2020), 63.4% (33,487 deaths) occurred in hospital, with the remainder occurring in care homes (15,601 deaths), private homes (2,513 deaths), hospices (756 deaths), other communal establishments (295 deaths) and elsewhere (204 deaths).

Between Weeks 38 and 39, the number of deaths involving COVID-19 increased in hospitals (63 deaths higher), care homes (seven deaths higher), hospices (one death higher), private homes (three deaths higher) and other communal establishments (two deaths higher). Deaths involving COVID-19 in hospitals as a proportion of all deaths in hospitals increased from 2.5% in Week 38 to 4.1% in Week 39. Deaths involving COVID-19 in care homes as a proportion of all deaths in care homes increased from 1.6% in Week 38 to 2.0% in Week 39. Detailed analysis on deaths of care home residents is available in Deaths involving COVID-19 in the care sector, England and Wales: deaths occurring up to 12 June 2020 and registered up to 20 June 2020.

As well as Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) provides numbers of deaths involving COVID-19 in care homes in England that are based on the date the death was notified to the CQC. From 10 April (the first day when data were collected using the CQC's new method of identifying deaths involving COVID-19) to 2 October 2020, there were 14,355 deaths of residents in care homes involving COVID-19. Of these deaths, 32 were notified in the week up to 25 September. More information on the data provided by the CQC can be found in our joint transparency statement.

In Wales, the Welsh Government publishes the number of deaths of care home residents involving COVID-19 notified to the Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW). Between 1 March and 25 September 2020, there were 745 deaths of residents in care homes involving COVID-19.

More information on how these numbers have compared throughout the pandemic can be found in our previous Comparison of weekly death occurrences in England and Wales release.

Figure 5: Deaths in private homes remained above the five-year average in Week 39

Number of excess deaths by place of occurrence, England and Wales, registered between 7 March 2020 and 25 September 2020

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In Week 39, deaths in hospitals, care home and other locations were below the five-year average (416, 71 and 5 deaths lower respectively), while the number of deaths in private homes was 749 above the five-year average (Figure 5).

Looking in more detail at deaths in private homes in Week 39, males and females accounted for similar numbers of excess deaths (397 and 353 deaths respectively). Overall, 77.6% of the excess deaths in private homes were those aged 70 years and over (582 excess deaths). More detailed analysis of excess deaths in England is produced by Public Health England (PHE) on a weekly basis.

Figure 6 is based on date of death for deaths registered up to 3 October 2020, rather than date of registration. This means as more deaths are registered, deaths per day are likely to increase, especially for later dates. Looking at the number of deaths that occurred in Week 39, 77.3% of deaths occurred in hospitals, and care homes accounted for 14.1% of all deaths involving COVID-19; this may change as more deaths are registered.

A death of a man aged 80 to 84 years was registered in the week ending 4 September 2020 (Week 36), which occurred in the week ending 31 January 2020 (Week 5). This is the earliest known death involving COVID-19 in the UK. There was also a death of a man aged 55 to 59 years registered in the week ending 21 August 2020 (Week 34), that occurred in the week ending 7 February (Week 6).

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6. Deaths registered in the UK

Across the UK, there were 10,861 deaths (all causes) registered in Week 39 (week ending 25 September 2020), which was 179 deaths higher than the UK five-year average and 77 deaths higher than Week 38. Of these deaths, 234 involved the coronavirus (COVID-19), 76 deaths higher than in Week 38 (a 48.1% increase).

In Week 39, England had the highest number of deaths involving COVID-19 with 203 deaths, followed by Wales with 12 deaths, Scotland with 10 deaths and Northern Ireland with nine deaths.

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7. Comparison of weekly death occurrences in England and Wales

We previously published this section as a separate article on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) website, which provided a more thorough description of the differences between different data sources. This section will look at the number of deaths by date of death produced by the ONS compared with death notifications reported by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). For Wales, we can also compare the reconciled DHSC data by date of death released by Public Health Wales (PHW).

On 12 August 2020, Public Health England (PHE) revised their data series to include two measures: deaths of positively tested individuals where the death occurred within 28 days and deaths within 60 days of a positive test. More information on these changes can be found in their technical summary.

In England, including deaths that occurred up to 25 September 2020 but were registered up to 3 October 2020, of those we have processed so far, the number involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) was 50,277.

The comparative number of death notifications reported by the DHSC on GOV.UK where the deaths occurred within 28 days of testing was 37,270 and the number of deaths by date of death showed 37,365; the comparative number of death notifications where the deaths occurred within 60 days of testing was 41,323 and the number of deaths by date of death showed 41,439.

In Wales, including deaths that occurred up to 25 September 2020 but were registered up to 3 October 2020, of those we have processed so far, the number involving COVID-19 was 2,592; the comparative number of death notifications reported by the DHSC on GOV.UK where the death occurred within 28 days of testing was 1,612, and PHW numbers, which come from the same source as the DHSC figures but are continuously updated, showed 1,613 deaths.

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8. Deaths data

Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional
Dataset | Released 6 October 2020
Provisional counts of the number of deaths registered in England and Wales, by age, sex and region, in the latest weeks for which data are available. Includes data on the coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths.

Death registrations and occurrences by local authority and health board
Dataset | Released 6 October 2020
Provisional counts of the number of deaths registered in England and Wales, including deaths involving COVID-19, by local authority, health board and place of death in the latest weeks for which data are available.

Number of deaths in care homes notified to the Care Quality Commission, England
Dataset | Released 6 October 2020
Provisional counts of deaths in care homes caused by COVID-19 by local authority. Published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Care Quality Commission (CQC).

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9. Glossary

Coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths

Coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths are those deaths registered in England and Wales in the stated week where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate. A doctor can certify the involvement of COVID-19 based on symptoms and clinical findings – a positive test result is not required. Definitions of COVID-19 for deaths in Scotland and Northern Ireland are similar to England and Wales.

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10. Measuring the data

More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in the Mortality statistics in England and Wales QMI.

To meet user needs, we publish very timely but provisional counts of death registrations in England and Wales in our Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional dataset. These are presented by sex, age group and regions (within England) as well as for Wales as a whole. To allow time for registration and processing, these figures are published 11 days after the week ends. Because of the rapidly changing situation, in this bulletin we have also given provisional updated totals based on the latest available death registrations, up to 3 October 2020.

Because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, our regular weekly deaths release now provides a separate breakdown of the number of deaths involving COVID-19: that is, where COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, including in combination with other health conditions. If a death certificate mentions COVID-19, it will not always be the main cause of death but may be a contributory factor. This bulletin summarises the latest weekly information and will be updated each week during the pandemic.

These figures are different from the daily surveillance figures on COVID-19 deaths published by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on the GOV.UK website, for the UK as a whole and its constituent countries. Figures in this report are derived from the formal process of death registration and may include cases where the doctor completing the death certificate diagnosed possible cases of COVID-19, for example, where this was based on relevant symptoms but no test for the virus was conducted.

From 29 April 2020, the DHSC started to publish as their daily announced figures on deaths from COVID-19 for the UK a new series that uses improved data for England produced by Public Health England (PHE). These figures provide a count of all deaths where a positive test for COVID-19 has been confirmed, wherever that death has taken place – a change from previously reporting only confirmed COVID-19 deaths in hospitals.

Figures for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland had already begun to include deaths outside hospitals, so this change ensured that the UK-wide series had a shared and common definitional coverage. A statement was published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which provides more detail of the changes.

On 12 August 2020, the PHE data series was revised to include two measures: deaths of positively tested individuals where the death occurred within 28 days and deaths within 60 days of a positive test. More information on these changes can be found in their technical summary (PDF, 854KB).

In contrast to the GOV.UK figures, we include only deaths registered in England and Wales, which is the legal remit of the ONS. Tables 2 and 3 provide an overview of the differences in definitions between sources.

We will publish accompanying articles periodically, giving enhanced information such as age-standardised and age-specific mortality rates for recent time periods and breakdowns of deaths involving COVID-19 by associated pre-existing health conditions.

There is usually a delay of at least five days between occurrence and registration. More information on this issue can be found in our impact of registration delays release.

Our User guide to mortality statistics provides further information on data quality, legislation and procedures relating to mortality and includes a glossary of terms.

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11. Strengths and limitations

Figures are based on the date the death was registered, not when it occurred. There is usually a delay of at least five days between occurrence and registration. More information on this issue can be found in our impact of registration delays release.

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Manylion cyswllt ar gyfer y Bwletin ystadegol

Sarah Caul
health.data@ons.gov.uk
Ffôn: +44 (0)1633 456490