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Excess deaths in England and Wales higher than five-year average – but not driven by COVID

Written by on 8 September 2020

The number of excess deaths in England and Wales has remained higher than average for the third week running – but not because of coronavirus, ONS figures show.

According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 9,032 excess deaths registered in England and Wales for the week ending 28 August.

That is 791 more deaths than the five-year average. But it was 599 fewer deaths than the previous week and the week-on-week increase is “not being driven by coronavirus“, ONS experts say.

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There were only 101 virus deaths that week, which is the lowest number since 13 March when just five death certificates mentioned COVID-19. This is also down from 138 the week before – and a drop of 26.8%.

Most of the excess deaths occured in hospital (63.4%), while 29.6% happened in care homes, 4.7% at home and 1.4% in hospices.

Sky News correspondent Adele Robinson stresses that despite the overall increase, it is not down to coronavirus.

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She said: “The downward trend of COVID-19 related deaths continues according to these latest statistics from the ONS.

“Today’s figures mark the lowest number for a while – in more than five months.

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“Although there appears to be a higher number of deaths than the five-year average, the ONS suggests it isn’t because of COVID-19.

“However, the usual caveat applies: there is a time delay to these statistics so we wouldn’t expect to see new cases reflected in the death rate yet.

“Deaths at home are also still high and above the five-year average so that may be cause for concern.”

In total, 57,417 people have died in the UK with coronavirus mentioned on their death certificate – including suspected cases, according to the new data.