Nearly 3,000 people died with Covid in week before Christmas

Nearly 3,000 people died with coronavirus in England and Wales in the week before Christmas, new figures have revealed.

The Office for National Statistics say of the deaths registered in the week ending December 25, 2,912 mentioned ‘novel coronavirus (Covid-19)’. This accounted for 25.3% of all deaths in England and Wales that week.

In total, 11,520 deaths were registered in the same period. This is down 1,491 compared to the week before but the ONS said the figures should be interpreted with caution due to delays in reporting over Christmas.

The number of deaths registered was 44.8% above the five-year average, with 3,566 more deaths this year.

The ONS said this might be partly due to the five year average being particularly low as 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 all contained two bank holidays, whereas Week 52 of 2020 only contained one bank holiday so would likely have more deaths registered.

Of the 2,912 deaths where Covid was mentioned on the death certificate 2,497 had this recorded as the underlying cause of death, equivalent to 85.7%.

The number of death was above the five year average for all locations; hospitals, care homes, private homes and other settings.

Deaths decreased in five of the nine English regions compared to the previous week but again the ONS said this could be due to delays in reporting. Deaths in London, the north east and east of England all continued to increase.

The actual number of deaths for the week ending December 25 may have been between 12,683 and 16,574, the ONS predicted.

It comes as fears grow that the rising number of coronavirus infections will translate into a huge influx in new patients overwhelming the NHS.

A leading professor has warned the country could soon be seeing more than 5,000 new admissions to hospitals every day.

A draft NHS protocol has recommended patients be treated via a ‘lottery system’ if resources become insufficient.

At yesterday’s Downing Street press conference the chief medical officer for England Chris Whitty warned there will inevitably be many more deaths in January because of the number of cases being recorded currently.

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