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Almost half of hospital deaths involved coronavirus at end of 2020, figures show

By Jemma Crew, PA Social Affairs Correspondent and Ian Jones, PA

Almost half of the hospital deaths in England and Wales registered during the last week of 2020 involved coronavirus, new figures show.

There were 3,144 deaths registered in the week ending January 1 which mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Of the 4,956 deaths registered which occurred in hospitals, 47.7% involved coronavirus, up from 40.2% the previous week.

And deaths involving Covid-19 in care homes accounted for more than a quarter (27.6%) of all deaths in care homes registered during the seven-day period.

The ONS said that next week it will release a new dataset on the weekly deaths of care home residents.

The figures show the number of registered coronavirus deaths is up 8.0% (232 deaths) from the previous week, while the number of overall deaths fell.

Of the 10,069 deaths registered, 31.2% mentioned Covid-19 – the highest proportion of deaths involving the virus since the week ending May 1.

The ONS said the latest figures should be interpreted with caution as the period covered includes two bank holidays, meaning there is likely to have been a delay in some registrations.

A decrease between these weeks is usually observed because of the impact of the Christmas bank holidays.