There were over 46,500 more deaths than expected since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in March and up to 1 May, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.
Only 33,400 of these deaths (72%) were officially attributed to Covid-19. That leaves some 13,237 deaths unaccounted for.
These “unexplained” deaths could partially be a result of undercounting the true Covid-19 mortality as well as unrelated deaths caused by limited access to healthcare services during the lockdown.
Almost 18,000 people died in England and Wales over the week to 1 May alone – compared to the 10,000 average for the same week in the previous five years.
The figures are based on a count of weekly deaths in England and Wales by the date when those deaths were registered. An additional, provisional figure released by the ONS shows the number of deaths that actually occurred up to 1 May linked to Covid-19 was at least 35,044.
The good news is we’re seeing the number of deaths – both attributed to Covid-19 and “unexplained” – significantly drop for the first time since the start of the outbreak.
The chart below shows the number of weekly deaths at the end of April has shrinked compared to the previous weeks. However, it is still much higher than the expected mortality rate for this time of year.