Covid accounted for just one in 130 deaths in England last week

Weekly Covid deaths have risen slightly in England but the virus is still only responsible for fewer than 100 fatalities, according to official data that will give ministers confidence Freedom Day can go ahead next month.

An Office for National Statistics (ONS) report published today found that 74 people died directly from Covid in the week ending June 18, which was up 12 per cent on the week before.

Wales recorded no deaths from the virus in the most recent week, for the first time since the pandemic began.  

In England, 102 people who died in the latest week had Covid mentioned on their death certificate, up from 84 a week earlier. But only 74 of them were caused directly by the virus, with the others dying from other causes. 

In total, there were 9,459 deaths registered in England and Wales in the most recent week, meaning just 0.78 per cent were caused by Covid – the equivalent of one in 127. 

The fact weekly deaths have risen just 12 per cent in the past week despite cases quadrupling over the past two months highlight just how well the vaccines are severing the link between Covid infections and fatalities. 

Putting his trust in Britain’s jab rollout, new Health Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs in the Commons yesterday that the Government sees ‘no reason to go beyond’ the new terminus date.

The Department of Health posted another 22,868 infections yesterday which was more than double the number a week prior. But there were just three deaths registered.

In a clear sign of the ‘vaccine effect’, the last time cases were at around 22,000 and rising was in early December, when there were roughly 400 Covid deaths a day and the second wave was starting to spiral.

Today’s ONS data also shows that, across England and Wales, flu and pneumonia are killing three-and-a-half times as many people as Covid. 

Statisticians at the ONS sort all death certificates registered in England and Wales to record those that mention Covid and whether it was the main cause of death or the person had the virus alongside another illness. 

The national agency’s figures lag behind the Department of Health’s daily total because it can take around two weeks to formally register a fatality, sparking a delay. 

Death certificates list underlying factors — the conditions thought to be responsible for the fatality — but also mention other conditions thought to have contributed to the fatality but not to be the main factor behind it.

Weekly Covid deaths went above 100 last week for the first time since May 14, when registrations were delayed because of the bank holiday on Monday May 3.

But this is still very low compared with the peak of the first and second waves of the pandemic despite surging cases. The Department of Health announced another 22,000 cases yesterday, the highest daily total since late January when cases were beginning to die down.

Wales registered no Covid deaths for the first time since the pandemic began. During the previous week it recorded only one death due to the virus.

Across England, the North West — which is battling the biggest Covid outbreak — recorded the most deaths due to the virus (21). It was followed by London (19), the South East (16), Yorkshire and the Humber (12), and the East Midlands (11). 

More people died from the virus compared to a week earlier in Yorkshire and The Humber (12 up from six), East Midlands (11 up from 10), West Midlands (eight up from seven) and the South East (16 up from 12). In the South West (3), North East (3), East (9) and London (19), the number of deaths stayed the same. 

None of the 573 deaths registered in Wales in the week ending June 18 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to the ONS. The last time this happened was in the week ending March 13 2020.

Fewer than one in 1,000 patients are dying from Covid now compared to one in 90 during second wave 

Fewer than one in a thousand people who catch Covid in England now die from the disease, according to scientists at Cambridge University.

They estimate the overall infection fatality rate (IFR) of coronavirus has been driven down to 0.085 per cent thanks to the country’s hugely successful vaccine rollout. 

This graph shows the proportion of people who catch Covid that are dying from the disease by age group. The rate has fallen markedly among older people, who are most at risk from the virus, since the vaccine roll-out began in January

This graph shows the proportion of people who catch Covid that are dying from the disease by age group. The rate has fallen markedly among older people, who are most at risk from the virus, since the vaccine roll-out began in January

This graph shows the proportion of people who catch Covid that are dying from the disease by age group. The rate has fallen markedly among older people, who are most at risk from the virus, since the vaccine roll-out began in January

For comparison, the team at Cambridge’s Medical Research Council (MRC) biostatistics unit estimated that about one in 90 cases (1.1 per cent) resulted in death at the end of the second wave.  

In the most vulnerable over-75s group, the IFR is now thought to be under 2 per cent after plummeting from 17 per cent during the winter peak in January.

Experts told MailOnline that while the findings were encouraging, the death rate will likely increase in the coming weeks as a result of the rise of the Indian variant. 

The MRC ‘nowcasting’ unit estimates the number of infections that lead to fatalities based on official data including daily Covid cases, deaths and hospital admissions. It also takes into account asymptomatic cases who are missed by the centralised testing scheme.

Dr Simon Clarke, a microbiologist at Reading University, said it was likely the number of infections leading to deaths would rise in the coming weeks because of the rapid rise in cases over the past two months.

‘We also have got to remember that what we are dealing with now is an increasing situation (of cases) and an increasing rate of infection,’ he told MailOnline.

‘Most people who have had the infection are in the early stages of it so they won’t have died yet.

‘I think it will go up later on, but it won’t go anywhere near the one in 90 (at the peak of the second wave), but I expect more than one in a thousand.’

Asked whether the July 19 easing was likely to go ahead, he said this would ‘probably’ happen.

‘There is evidence — good evidence — it seems that the vaccine is working and the vaccines are protecting’ against serious disease and death, he added.  

Advertisement

The following week, to March 20, saw two Covid-19 deaths registered in Wales. Since then, there have been deaths involving Covid-19 registered in Wales every week.

The number peaked at 413 during the first wave of the virus, in the week to April 24, and at 467 during the second wave, in the week to January 15. The latest ONS figures suggest a different trend in England.

Here, the number of registered deaths involving Covid-19 stood at 102 in the week to June 18, up from 84 the previous week.

It is the first time the total of people with Covid on their death certificate in England has been above 100 since the week to May 14, when registrations were affected by delays caused by the bank holiday on Monday May 3. 

This is still a very low level compared with the peak of the first and second waves of the virus, however.

The total number of deaths registered in England in the week to June 18 was 8,874 – 0.8 per cent above the average for non-pandemic years.

Some 21 care home resident deaths involving Covid-19 in England were registered in the week to June 18, up from 14 in the previous week.

This means 32,227 care home residents in England and Wales have now had Covid-19 recorded on their death certificate. The ONS figures cover deaths of care home residents in all settings, not just in care homes.

It comes after Cambridge University scientists estimated that fewer than one in a thousand people who catch Covid in England now die from the disease.

They estimate the overall infection fatality rate (IFR) of coronavirus has been driven down to 0.085 per cent thanks to the country’s hugely successful vaccine rollout. 

For comparison, the team at Cambridge’s Medical Research Council (MRC) biostatistics unit estimated that about one in 90 cases (1.1 per cent) resulted in death at the end of the second wave.  

In the most vulnerable over-75s group, the IFR is now thought to be under 2 per cent after plummeting from 17 per cent during the winter peak in January.

Experts told MailOnline that while the findings were encouraging, the death rate will likely increase in the coming weeks as a result of the rise of the Indian variant.  

The MRC ‘nowcasting’ unit estimates the number of infections that lead to fatalities based on official data including daily Covid cases, deaths and hospital admissions. It also takes into account asymptomatic cases who are missed by the centralised testing scheme.

Dr Simon Clarke, a microbiologist at Reading University, said it was likely the number of infections leading to deaths would rise in the coming weeks because of the rapid rise in cases over the past two months.

‘We also have got to remember that what we are dealing with now is an increasing situation (of cases) and an increasing rate of infection,’ he told MailOnline.

‘Most people who have had the infection are in the early stages of it so they won’t have died yet.

‘I think it will go up later on, but it won’t go anywhere near the one in 90 (at the peak of the second wave), but I expect more than one in a thousand.’

Asked whether the July 19 easing was likely to go ahead, he said this would ‘probably’ happen.

‘There is evidence — good evidence — it seems that the vaccine is working and the vaccines are protecting’ against serious disease and death, he added.  

Third AstraZeneca jab after six months boosts protection against Covid variants, Oxford study suggests 

A third dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine may offer enhanced protection against Covid variants, a study has suggested.

Scientists at Oxford University found that a booster jab given six months after the second dose increased levels of antibodies that target the Indian, Kent and South African strains. 

The findings mean that the AstraZeneca vaccine could be used if the Government decides to launch a booster vaccine programme this autumn. 

However, the lead scientist behind the trials said the standard two-dose regimen was working so well that there was little need for a third shot yet. 

Studies have shown that two doses of AstraZeneca or Pfizer reduce hospitalisations by up to 96 per cent.

And the latest study found that antibody levels remain elevated for at least one year after a single dose of the AZ vaccine, with protection from two jabs likely to prevail even longer. 

Advertisement

The latest findings are more confirmation that the vaccines are breaking the link between infections and deaths.

So far 32.4million British adults — or 61 per cent — have been fully immunised and in total 44million — 84 per cent have been given at least one dose. 

The vaccines have been shown to be up to 96 per cent effective at stopping severe illness and hospitalisation from the Indian variant after two doses — and even better at preventing deaths. 

But one dose is significantly weaker against the new strain than older versions of the virus, which prompted the four-week delay of the original June 21 Freedom Day because millions of over-40s are still to get their follow-up shot.    

The Cambridge team suggested the number of people dying after catching the virus was highest among the over-75s, followed by 65 to 74-year-olds, although the rate in both groups was far lower than during the darkest days of January.

For 65 to 74-year-olds one in 200 were now dying after catching the virus (0.46 per cent). For comparison, in the darkest days of January it was one in 40 (2.5 per cent).

Older people are most at risk of hospitalisation and death if they catch the virus, reams of official data shows. They were prioritised in the vaccines roll-out which aimed to protect the most vulnerable first. 

Among children and teenagers (5 to 14-year-olds) the MRC team estimated their risk of death after catching the virus was very low at one in 90,000 (0.0011 per cent). Even in the darkest days of the pandemic it was nearly one in 70,000 (0.0015 per cent), far below the level in older age groups. 

Children and teenagers have been at an incredibly low risk throughout the pandemic.

For 15 to 24-year-olds, the risk of dying after catching the virus was one in 76,000 (0.0013 per cent) compared to one in 25,000 (0.004 per cent) in January.

Among 25 to 44-year-olds, it was one in 6,600 (0.015 per cent), whereas it was one in 3,000 (0.029 per cent) during the darkest days of the second wave.

And for 45 to 64-year-olds, it was one in 700 (0.13 per cent), a significant drop from almost one in 300 (0.37 per cent) in January.

Professor Paul Hunter, a virologist from the University of East Anglia, said the death rate was ‘remarkably low’ compared to the situation in the second wave.

‘You can see deaths are increasing, as you would expect from the rapidly increasing case numbers, but still at a very low level compared to the same point of the second wave,’ he told The Times.

He added he would be wary of relying too much on the MRC unit’s model because it can be prone to unrealistic fluctuations. But he added it was ‘reassuring, even though cases are going up more quickly’.

link

(Visited 44 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply