Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional: week ending 28 August 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:
8 September 2020

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
15 September 2020

1. Main points

  • The number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 28 August 2020 (Week 35) was 9,032; this was 599 deaths fewer than in Week 34.

  • In Week 35, the number of deaths registered was 9.6% above the five-year average (791 deaths higher); this is the third consecutive week that weekly deaths have been above the five-year average, however, the rise was not driven by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

  • The number of deaths in hospitals was below the five-year average in Week 35, while the number of deaths in private homes, care homes and other locations was above the five-year average.

  • Of the deaths registered in Week 35, 101 mentioned "novel coronavirus (COVID-19)", the lowest number of deaths involving COVID-19 in the last 24 weeks and a 26.8% decrease compared with Week 34 (37 deaths), accounting for 1.1% of all deaths in England and Wales.

  • The number of deaths involving COVID-19 decreased across the majority of the English regions, however all regions had higher overall deaths than the five-year average.

  • In Wales, the number of deaths involving COVID-19 decreased to three deaths (from 11 deaths in Week 34), while the total number of deaths in Week 35 was above the five-year average (52 deaths) for the third consecutive week.

  • Of all deaths involving COVID-19 registered up to Week 35, 63.4% occurred in hospital, with the remainder mainly occurring in care homes (29.6%), private homes (4.7%) and hospices (1.4%).

  • The number of deaths registered in the UK in the week ending 28 August 2020 (Week 35) was 10,337, which was 882 deaths higher than the five-year average and 630 deaths lower than Week 34; of the deaths registered in the UK in Week 35, 110 deaths involved COVID-19, 39 fewer deaths than Week 34.

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2. Deaths registered by week

Figure 1: The number of deaths in England and Wales involving COVID-19 decreased for the 19th consecutive week

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

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The provisional number of deaths registered in England and Wales decreased from 9,631 in Week 34 (week ending 21 August 2020) to 9,032 in Week 35 (week ending 28 August 2020) (Figure 1). The number of deaths was above the five-year average for the third consecutive week, with 791 deaths higher (9.6%). The coronavirus (COVID-19) did not drive the increase, as deaths involving COVID-19 continued to decrease in Week 35. As the five-year average is based on each corresponding week over the previous five years, the Week 35 average is affected by the August bank holiday where the number of deaths registered can be affected because of register offices being closed.

COVID-19 has had a large impact on the number of deaths registered over the last few months and is the main reason for deaths increasing above what is expected (the five-year average). The disease has had a larger impact on those most vulnerable (for example, those who already suffer from a medical condition) and those at older ages. Some of these deaths would have likely occurred over the duration of the year but have occurred earlier because of COVID-19. These deaths occurring earlier than expected could contribute to a period of deaths below the five-year average, as seen in Weeks 25 to 32.

The number of death registrations in England and Wales involving COVID-19 decreased by 37 deaths from 138 in Week 34 to 101 in Week 35, the lowest number of COVID-19 deaths registered since Week 11 (week ending 13 March) - the first week COVID-19 deaths were registered (five deaths). Of all deaths registered in Week 35, 1.1% mentioned COVID-19, down from 1.4% in Week 34.

In England, the number of deaths decreased from 9,021 in Week 34 to 8,425 in Week 35, which was 751 deaths higher than the Week 35 five-year average. Of the Week 35 deaths, 1.2% (97 deaths) involved COVID-19 in England.

In Wales, the number of deaths decreased from 594 in Week 34 to 591 in Week 35, which was 52 deaths higher than the five-year average. Of these, 0.5% (three deaths) involved COVID-19.

In Week 35, in England and Wales, 12.6% of all deaths mentioned "Influenza and Pneumonia", COVID-19 or both, compared with 13.4% in Week 34. "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: The number of deaths not involving COVID-19 increased above the five-year average for the third consecutive week

Number of deaths registered by week, England and Wales, 28 December 2019 to 28 August 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 35, 278,180 deaths were registered, which was 59,164 more than the five-year average. Week 35 was the third consecutive week where deaths were higher than the five-year average (791 deaths higher) (Figure 2).

Looking at the year-to-date (using the most up-to-date data we have available), the number of deaths up to 28 August 2020 was 417,063, which is 54,309 more than the five-year average. Of the deaths registered by 28 August, 52,282 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate, 12.5% 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 391,577, which is 52,646 (15.5%) more than the five-year average. Of these, 49,642 (12.7%) mentioned COVID-19. In Wales, the number of deaths up to 28 August 2020 was 24,875, which is 2,118 (9.3%) more than the five-year average; of these, 2,565 deaths (10.3%) mentioned COVID-19.

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3. Deaths registered by age group

In Week 35, the number of deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) in England and Wales decreased or remained the same across most age groups, compared with Week 34, with the largest difference in those aged 85 to 89 years where deaths decreased by 18. The number of deaths involving COVID-19 remained higher in the older age groups, with those aged 80 to 84 years accounting for the highest number of deaths involving COVID-19 (20.8%).

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 35 of 2020, 55.0% of all deaths involving COVID-19 were in males. However, there were more deaths in females aged 85 years and over (11,957) than males aged 85 years and over (10,118). 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 35 decreased in Wales and majority of the English regions, but remained above the five-year average

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

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In Week 35 (week ending 28 August 2020), there were three 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 (34 deaths) and the highest proportion of deaths involving COVID-19 (3.0%), however the North West had the smallest increase of all cause deaths above the five-year average (0.6%). 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.

Notes:

  1. Based on area of usual residence, boundaries correct as of May 2020.
  2. Figures exclude deaths of non-residents.
  3. Based on date a death was registered rather than occurred.
  4. All figures for 2020 are provisional.
  5. The averages are based on the number of death registrations in each region, recorded for each corresponding week over the previous five years. Moveable public holidays, when register offices are closed, affect the number of registrations made in the published weeks and in the corresponding weeks in previous years.

The number of deaths registered in Week 35 was higher than the five-year average in all English regions. In Wales, the number of deaths registered in Week 35 was 9.6% (52 deaths) higher than 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 35 (week ending 28 August 2020), 63.4% (33,151 deaths) occurred in hospital, with the remainder occurring in care homes (15,484 deaths), private homes (2,477 deaths), hospices (747 deaths), other communal establishments (221 deaths) and elsewhere (202 deaths).

Between Weeks 34 and 35, the number of deaths involving COVID-19 decreased across all settings. Deaths involving COVID-19 in hospitals as a proportion of all deaths in hospitals remained the same at 1.9%. Deaths involving COVID-19 in care homes as a proportion of all deaths in care homes decreased from 2.2% in Week 34 to 1.3% in Week 35. 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 4 September 2020, there were 14,211 deaths of residents in care homes involving COVID-19. Of these deaths, 17 were notified in the week up to 4 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 17 March and 28 August 2020, there were 504 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 35

Number of excess deaths by place of occurrence, England and Wales, registered between 7 March 2020 and 28 August 2020

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In Week 35, deaths in hospitals were below the five-year average by 189 deaths, while the number of deaths in private homes, care homes and other locations was higher than the five-year average, by 940, 5 and 35 deaths respectively (Figure 5).

Looking in more detail at deaths in private homes in Week 35, males accounted for more excess deaths (513 deaths) than females (427 deaths), while those aged 70 years and over accounted for the majority of the excess compared with younger age groups (664 deaths in those aged 70 years and over, compared with 276 in those aged under 70 years). 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 5 September 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 35, 67.0% of deaths occurred in hospitals, and care homes accounted for 21.1% of all deaths involving COVID-19; this may change as more deaths are registered.

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6. Deaths registered in the UK

Across the UK, there were 10,337 deaths (all causes) registered in Week 35 (week ending 28 August 2020), which was 882 deaths higher than the UK five-year average and 630 deaths lower than Week 34. Of these deaths, 110 involved the coronavirus (COVID-19), 39 deaths lower than in Week 34.

In Week 35, England had the highest number of deaths involving COVID-19 with 97 deaths, followed by Scotland with six deaths, Northern Ireland with four deaths and Wales with three 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 28 August 2020 but were registered up to 5 September 2020, of those we have processed so far, the number involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) was 49,676. The comparative number of death notifications reported by the DHSC on GOV.UK where the deaths occurred within 28 days of testing was 36,849 and the number of deaths by date of death showed 36,866; the comparative number of death notifications where the deaths occurred within 60 days of testing was 40,726 and the number of deaths by date of death showed 40,764.

In Wales, including deaths that occurred up to 28 August 2020 but were registered up to 5 September 2020, of those we have processed so far, the number involving COVID-19 was 2,565; the comparative number of death notifications reported by the DHSC on GOV.UK where the death occurred within 28 days of testing was 1,595 and PHW numbers, which come from the same source as the DHSC figures but are continuously updated, also showed 1,595 deaths.

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From next week (Week 36, week ending 4 September 2020), the tabs that compare sources of data (comparisons data tabs) within the accompanying data tables will no longer be provided. Death registration and death occurrence data by day will still be published in our data tables, data from GOV.UK, NHS England and Public Health Wales can be accessed via their websites and we will provide links. If there are any concerns regarding this, please contact: health.data@ons.gov.uk.

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8. Deaths data

Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional
Dataset | Released 8 September 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 coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths.

Death registrations and occurrences by local authority and health board
Dataset | Released 8 September 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 8 September 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 5 September 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