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COVID-19: Period of ‘excess deaths’ from second wave has come to an end

Written by on 23 March 2021

The period of “excess deaths” which has characterised the second wave of COVID-19 has now come to an end, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

For the first time since September, the number of people dying of all causes in England and Wales has dropped beneath the five-year average.

According to the figures, some 10,987 people died in the week ending 12 March, which was 511 below the historical average for that week, the 10th week of the year.

Weekly deaths from all causes Image: Weekly deaths fell below the five-year average in the week ending 12 March

However, the total COVID-19 death toll, as measured by the ONS based on death certificates mentioning COVID, is now within a few hundred of 150,000. As of 12 March, that number stood at 149,117.

The worst day of the second wave was 19 January, when there were 1,465 deaths. This compares to 1,459 on the worst day of the first wave (8 April).

Deaths involving COVID-19 among people aged 80 and over have fallen by 91% since the second-wave peak, and deaths for those aged 75-79 dropped 89% in the same period, compared with falls of 88% for those aged 70-74 and 85% for both those aged 65-69 and 60-64.

People aged 80 and over were the second group on the priority list for COVID-19 vaccines, with doses being offered from early December.

The figures come on the day that COVID-19 victims are being remembered as the UK marks one year since the first national lockdown.

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Also, new coronavirus laws have been announced that would see those trying to holiday abroad being hit with a £5,000 fine.

MPs will vote on the laws – officially titled the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 – on Thursday.

If approved they would come into effect next Monday – 29 March.

Lockdown: One Year On is a special programme marking the anniversary of the first national lockdown on Sky News at 7pm tonight