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One in four England and Wales deaths in week up to Christmas involved coronavirus

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

One in four deaths in England and Wales registered in the week leading up to Christmas involved coronavirus, figures show.

There were 11,520 deaths registered in the week ending December 25, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Of these, 2,912 (25.3%) mentioned “novel coronavirus” on the death certificate.

The number of registered coronavirus deaths and deaths from all causes both fell compared with the previous week.

The ONS said the figures for the most recent week should be interpreted with caution as they had been affected by the Christmas Day bank holiday.

The number of deaths traditionally falls between these weeks, it added.

Despite the falls, the number of deaths was 44.8% (3,566 deaths) higher than the average for this week over the past five years.

The ONS said this was because this week in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 contained two bank holidays, as opposed to the one in 2020.

Registered deaths in all locations – hospitals, care homes, private homes and elsewhere – were all above the five-year average for this week.

This was also the case for all regions in England, and Wales.

The number of deaths involving Covid-19 fell in five regions in England, but continued to rise in the North East, East and London, and Wales.

Provisional figures, covering from December 28 2019 to December 25 2020, show 55.4% of deaths involving Covid-19 were in men.

The number of deaths across this period was above the five-year average for all age groups above 14 years.

There were 604,029 deaths registered up to December 25 – 72,900 more than the five-year average.

Of these, 78,467 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate – 13% of all deaths in England and Wales.

Some 52,954 deaths (67.5%) occurred in hospitals, 20,098 in care homes, 3,779 in private homes, 1,055 in hospices, 311 in other communal establishments and 270 elsewhere.

The number of deaths which occurred over this period will rise as more deaths are registered.