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Number of people dying in England and Wales drops BELOW average for the first time since March

The number of people dying each week in England and Wales is below average for the first time since the first person died of coronavirus in March.

A total of 9,339 people died of any cause in the week ending June 19, down from an average of 9,404 for the same week over the past five years.

This was the first time the 2020 weekly total was lower than average since March 13, when the first Covid-19 fatalities were officially recorded.

Although people are still dying of coronavirus, fewer deaths from other causes has cancelled them out and the total is now lower than would be expected. 

The week up to June 19 had the lowest coronavirus death count in 13 weeks, with 623 more victims confirmed – down from 915 a week earlier and 1,279 before that.

Four regions of England saw fewer deaths than average in the week from June 13 to 19, which is the most recent data from the ONS.

East of England was furthest below average, with 6.8 per cent fewer fatalities than usual, followed by the South East (3.8 per cent), North West (3.7 per cent) and South West (3.5 per cent).

West Midlands had just one death more than it would expect to see in an average year (0.1 per cent).

Wales was continuing to see the most excess fatalities, with 7.7 per cent more people than usual dying in that week – a total of 44 more than the average 573. 

Today’s data shows the health impact of Covid-19 is continuing to shrink but there are still hundreds of people dying every week as lockdown begins to lift.

The latest figures do take into account any changes that might have happened as a result of people being allowed to spend unlimited amounts of time outside – which doesn’t appear to have affected the death rate.

It may be too soon, however, to show any changes triggered by rules allowing people to meet in groups of six, or of high street shops reopening.

Both those measures began in June and statisticians say it takes three weeks or more for trends to emerge in data because it can take that long for people to die after catching Covid-19.

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