Covid deaths are SLOWING: Official figures show weekly fatalities rose by just 9% in most recent week – but Government statistics shows curve has already started to DROP
The rise in coronavirus deaths in England and Wales started slowing in the second half of November, statistics show – and Government data suggest the daily count is already falling.
A weekly report from the Office for National Statistics showed that the number of people dying with Covid-19 in the week ending November 20 was 2,697, up from 2,466 the week before.
This was a rise of just nine per cent after a surge of 27 per cent a week earlier, when they rose from 1,937, and a surge of 40 per cent at the end of October.
The slowing rate of increase suggests that the worst of Britain’s second wave may have already passed and fatalities could have peaked and now be falling again.
This is backed up by daily Department of Health data that show coronavirus deaths in England appeared to peak on around November 21 and then started to decline again.
On average, 375 deaths were being recorded each day by the Government on November 21, and this then declined to 351 on November 23, the most recent data.
Deaths will continue to rumble on as the numbers of new infections remains high – the daily average of positive tests is currently 14,778 for the UK as a whole – and one top statistician warned the death toll of the second wave is on course to hit 20,000 before Christmas.
University of Cambridge statistician Professor David Spiegelhalter today pointed out that Covid-19 is killing more than eight times as many people as flu and pneumonia.
While there were 280 deaths caused by flu or pneumonia in the week to November 13, there were 2,361 caused by Covid-19, the ONS report said. Deaths ‘involving’ Covid-19 were 2,697, while those involving flu numbered 2,605.
He added: ‘Between September 5 and November 20, 12,907 deaths involving Covid were registered in the UK, and there have been roughly 3,000 since then, making 16,000 altogether in the second wave.
‘Sadly, the prediction that the second wave would involve tens of thousands of Covid deaths looks like it will be fulfilled, and we can expect this second-wave total to rise to over 20,000 by Christmas.
‘Once again, there were over 1,000 additional deaths in private homes compared with normal, a 40 per cent increase.
‘This seems to be a long-term change in the way people are dying in this country, and deserves close attention.’
Deaths in care homes – where people are most vulnerable to Covid-19 – surged during November, more than doubling in a fortnight between the start and middle of the month, but have also started to level off.
Data show that 467 care home residents died with the disease in the third week of the month, up from 425 a week before and 280 the week before that.
Until November, care homes’ death tolls had stayed relatively low during the UK’s second wave, with weekly fatalities at or below 150 per week for the eight weeks of September and October.
The numbers pale in comparison to up to 2,800 per week during the first peak of the epidemic in April.
A total of 2,697 coronavirus deaths were registered in the week that ended November 13, which was 231 more than the week before and accounted for more than a fifth (21.5 per cent) of the 12,535 deaths of all causes in that week.
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