The number of people dying with Covid-19 rose for the ninth week in a row at the start of November and the virus now accounts for one in every six deaths in England and Wales.
A weekly report by the Office for National Statistics showed that a total 1,937 people died between October 31 and November 6 and had coronavirus mentioned on their death certificate, up from 1,379 the week before.
ONS experts found that deaths of all causes are now above average in every region of England except for London, where they are on par with normal for this time of the year. London deaths were still below average last week.
The most fatalities are being recorded in the North West of England, which saw 419 more people die than usual in the first week of this month – an increase of 31.4 per cent.
The region, which includes Liverpool and Manchester, has borne the brunt of England’s second wave of coronavirus and, although infections there are now declining, deaths will continue to rise as records catch up with people who were infected weeks or even months ago. It takes an average of two or three weeks to die after infection.
Excess deaths – the number of fatalities that would not usually be expected at this time of year – was significantly lower in other regions, at 273 in Yorkshire and the Humber, 207 in Wales and fewer than 150 in all other parts of the country.
Deaths involving Covid-19 are still being outstripped by those among people who have flu or pneumonia – 1,937 in the latest week, compared to 2,267 – but the gap is narrowing rapidly. While there were over 1,000 more deaths related to Covid than flu in every week in September, that difference had plummeted to just 330 by the start of this month.
The ONS’s report showed that deaths of all causes are now higher than average in all mainstream settings – in hospitals, care homes and private homes.
Hospitals account for more than 80 per cent of coronavirus deaths – a total of 1,109 out of 1,937 in the first week of November.
A further 168 people died with Covid-19 in care homes, along with 81 in private homes and 21 in ‘other’ settings.
The ONS report said: ‘The number of deaths in hospitals was above the five-year average in Week 45 for the third consecutive week (520 more deaths); the number of deaths in private homes and care homes was also above the five-year average (997 and 38 more deaths respectively), but deaths in other locations were below the five-year average (76 fewer deaths).’
The number of people dying with coronavirus has now risen every week since September 4, when school and university terms across the country restarted for 2020-21.
Cases started to surge in September and deaths have followed suit after falling to a low of 78 – an average of just one per day – in the week that ended September 4.
At the peak of the crisis the number of people killed by Covid-19 skyrocketed to more than 8,000 per week, peaking at 8,758 in the week that ended April 17. Experts do not expect this second wave to hit such devastating levels.
Estimates of the number of infections published by the ONS – most recently last Friday – suggest the coronavirus outbreak in England ‘remains at about 50,000 new cases per day’.