Nearly 46,000 residents of care homes in England and Wales lost their lives between the start of the coronavirus pandemic and 1 May.
More than a quarter of the deaths, or 12,526, are known to have involved Covid-19, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today.
The ONS recorded a total of 45,899 deaths among care home residents between March 2 and May 1 – more than twice as many as the 22,573 who died during the same period in 2019.
It means that even after the 12,536 known Covid-19 cases are accounted for, there have still been 10,790 “extra”, unexplained deaths. Those are likely to be directly or indirectly related to the virus, too.
Around three in four care home residents’ deaths involving Covid-19 between March and May this year occurred in care homes (72.2%) with almost all of the remaining cases occurring in hospitals (27.5%).
The ONS analysis shows that Covid-19 was the leading cause of death for male care home residents, being responsible for 30.3% of their deaths. That only includes cases where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate — again, the true number of cases where the virus played some role could be far higher.
Covid-19 was also the second leading cause of death in female care home residents, after dementia and Alzheimer’s, accounting for at least 23.5% of deaths.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s were the conditions most commonly associated with Covid-19 deaths, being present in 42.5% of Covid-19 deaths aming care home residents.