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UK coronavirus death toll passes 44,000

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The number of UK deaths involving Covid-19 is almost 10,000 higher than the official figures suggest – but weekly coronavirus fatalities have fallen to their lowest level in six weeks.

The total includes new figures published on Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics.

These figures show that 39,071 deaths involving Covid-19 occurred in England and Wales up to May 8 (and had been registered up to May 16).

The latest figures from the National Records of Scotland, published last week, showed 3,213 deaths involving Covid-19 had been registered in Scotland up to May 10.

And the latest figures from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, also published last week, showed 599 deaths involving Covid-19 had been registered in Northern Ireland up to May 13.

Together these figures mean that so far 42,883 deaths have been registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, including suspected cases.

A further 1,211 hospital patients in England who had tested positive for Covid-19 died between May 9 and May 17, according to figures published on Monday by NHS England – which, together with the total figure of 42,883 registered deaths, indicates the overall death toll for the UK is now just over 44,000.

But there is cause for some cautious optimism.

The official record of excess deaths – which the government maintains will be the true indicator of how every country on Earth dealt with the crisis once all this is over – shows a sharp drop once again.

In fact, only 3,000 excess deaths were recorded in the week ending May 8.

That’s down on the 8k which were logged the week before, which was itself a reduction on 12,000 recorded the week before that.

In fact, the figures for the week ending May 8 are the lowest excess deaths recorded since the last week of March, suggesting the UK is now well past the peak of coronavirus deaths.

However, the ONS did take pains to point out that these figures are slightly impacted by the fact May 8 was a Bank Holiday, meaning no deaths were recorded.

A deep dive into the stats offers up some more interesting insights.

Bizarrely, the number of young people dying seems to have fallen slightly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Average deaths of those 19 and under have actually fallen from 81 to 77 for this time of year.

But from the age of 50-59, and then every decade after that, the number of excess deaths rises significantly.

There has been an increase of 211 in people in their 50s dying.

That rises to 337 for people in their 60s, before rising yet again to 573 for those in their 70s.

But sadly, coronavirus is most dangerous to people in their 80s, with 1,021 people in their 80s dying last week.

Tuesday’s figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that 121,002 deaths were registered in England and Wales between March 21 and May 8 2020.

This was 49,575 more deaths than the average for this period in the previous five years.

Covid-19 was responsible for 37,187 of these excess deaths, or 75.0%.

The ONS said it is continuing to investigate the number of non-Covid-19-related deaths and will publish detailed analysis on this in the future.

The figures also show that there were 39,071 deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales up to May 8 (and which were registered up to May 16).

This compares with 29,349 deaths of people testing positive for Covid-19 reported by the Department of Health and Social Care for the same period.

The ONS total is 33% higher than the Department of Health total.

This is because the ONS figures include all mentions of Covid-19 on a death certificate, including suspected Covid-19, and are based on the date that deaths occurred.

The Department of Health figures are based on when deaths were reported, and are for deaths where a person has tested positive for Covid-19.

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