UK's Covid death toll hits 100,000, ONS says

UK's Covid death toll hits 100,000, ONS says

UK’s Covid death toll hits 100,000: ONS figures show 103,704 people had died with the virus by January 15 as care home fatalities almost TRIPLED in a fortnight to 1,705

  • Data from Office for National Statistics today revealed as of January 15 there had been 103,704 Covid deaths
  • Figure is slightly lower than Department of Health’s tally of 98,531 because the ONS looks at death certificates
  • Only four countries, US (421,129), Brazil (217,664), India (153,587) and Mexico (150,273), suffered more deaths

The UK’s coronavirus death toll has passed the grim milestone of 100,000, official figures show.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today revealed that, as of January 15, there had been 103,704 Covid fatalities since the pandemic began. 

The figure is slightly lower than the Department of Health’s tally of 98,531 because the ONS includes all fatalities with Covid on the death certificates, whereas the Government’s figure relies on positive tests.

It comes after Britain suffered a devastating winter wave of the virus caused by the super-infectious mutant variant first found in Kent.

The new strain sparked a tsunami of infections and hospital admissions that left the UK with the highest Covid death rate in the world.   

Only four countries, the US (421,129), Brazil (217,664), India (153,587) and Mexico (150,273), which have far larger populations, have suffered higher death tolls. 

Experts say one of the driving factors behind the UK’s huge toll has been the Government’s failure to protect frail and elderly people in care homes – who account for a quarter of all deaths.

Separate damning ONS figures show fatalities among care home residents have almost tripled in the last fortnight, as the virus makes a deadly resurgence in the sector. 

The number-crunching body said there were 1,705 deaths reported to the Care Quality Commission in the seven days to January 2, up from 661 a fortnight ago.

Commenting on the figures, Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, an eminent statistician at the University of Cambridge, said: ‘The more accurate ONS data show that over 100,000 people in the UK had already died with Covid on their death certificate by January 7, nearly three weeks ago. 

‘This rose to 108,000 by January 15, and the total now will be nearly 120,000. Around 90 per cent of these had Covid as the immediate cause of death, and so perhaps we can say that around 100,000 people in the UK have now died because of Covid. An awful total.’ 

The ONS report today also found coronavirus accounted for four in 10 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending January 15 – the highest proportion recorded during the pandemic.

There were 7,245 deaths registered where the virus was mentioned on the death certificate in England and Wales,  a 20 per cent rise from the previous week, when 6,057 deaths were registered.

It is also the third highest weekly number recorded during the pandemic and at 40.2 per cent, the week with the highest proportion of deaths involving Covid-19 recorded so far.

The number of deaths involving Covid-19 in care homes continued to rise, with 1,271 deaths in care homes registered in the week ending January 15. This is up 32.3 per cent from 960 the previous week.

Overall, there were 1,719 deaths of care home residents involving coronavirus either in the home, at hospital or another location, up 25.4 per cent from the previous seven days.

Separate Care Quality Commission data shows it was notified of 2,314 deaths of care home residents in the week ending January 22. This is a rise of 32 per cent from the 1,752 notifications it received in the week ending January 15.

Responding to the weekly mortality statistics from the ONS for the week ending 15 January, Nuffield Trust Deputy Director of Research Sarah Scobie said:’Less than a year since the pandemic took off here in the UK, we will hit the tragic milestone of 100,000 deaths attributed to Covid-19. 

‘Worryingly, this harrowing figure does not take into account excess deaths indirectly associated with the virus.

‘In the most recent weekly registered deaths data, we have reached the third-highest (7,245) number of Covid fatalities at any time during the pandemic.’ 

She continued: ‘Two in five deaths registered in the week up to 15 January were Covid related translating to over half of all deaths in hospitals and over a third in care homes. 

‘The building pressure is still felt right across the health and care system, and as we have only recently hit record daily reporting of deaths, we know registrations will remain high for another few weeks.

‘The number of registered deaths from Covid of care home residents has increased by 25 per cent since last week. The sector is again feeling the strain, and while the vaccine roll-out for the most vulnerable is continuing at impressive speed it will be a while until the benefits feed through to the figures.’

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