The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has today (16 April 2020) released data on the number of deaths in England and Wales purported to be due to COVID-19.
The report provides a detailed analysis of all deaths in both countries between 1 and 31 March 2020 that were registered up to 6 April 2020 where COVID-19 was involved. The information is compiled from data based on certified deaths registered with local registration offices.
During March 2020 there were 47,358 deaths in England and Wales, of which 8% (3912) involved COVID-19 and in 3372 (86%) of these deaths, when COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, it was found to be the underlying cause of death. In addition, of those deaths involving COVID-19, in 3563 cases (91%), there was a pre-existing condition, the most common of which was ischaemic heart disease.
Overall, COVID-19 was the third most common cause of death during March 2020, behind dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (the most common) and ischaemic heart disease.
The data suggests that the rate of death due to COVID-19 was 68.5 deaths per 100,000 people and the death rate increased with advancing age such that 1 in 5 deaths in the age group 80 to 84 years was due to COVID-19.
Office for National Statistics. Deaths involving COVID-19, England and Wales: deaths occurring in March 2020. www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsinvolvingcovid19englandandwales/deathsoccurringinmarch2020 (accessed April 2020).