ONS COVID-19 mortality figures show downward trend continues but ‘should have caution written all over them’

Responding to the latest COVID-19 mortality figures for England and Wales from the ONS, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:

“There is a downward trend in the NHS, in care homes and the community, which should provide some comfort. But these figures should have caution written all over them, as what goes down can also rise again.

“While the overall picture is improving, the proportion of deaths from COVID-19 in care homes continues to rise. More is being done to support this part of the system, but concerns remain. It is also clear that there are big lessons to be learned from what has happened to social care, and that major reform is inevitable.”

Key points from the ONS data:The number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 8 May 2020 (Week 19) was 12,657, a decrease for the third week running, but 3,081 more than the five-year average for Week 19. The number of death registrations was impacted by the Early May Bank Holiday, which took place on Friday 8 May 2020.  Of the deaths registered in Week 19, 3,930 mentioned COVID-19, which was 31.1% of all deaths; this is a decrease of 2,105 deaths compared with Week 18 (33.6% of all deaths).Of deaths involving COVID-19 registered up to Week 19, 66.6% (24,883 deaths) occurred in hospital, 26.7% in care homes (9,980 deaths), 4.6% in private homes (1,727 deaths) and 1.2% in hospices (464 deaths). The number of deaths in care homes (from all causes) for Week 19 decreased from 6,409 to 4,248; however, deaths involving COVID-19 as a percentage of all deaths in care homes continued to rise to 39.2% compared with 37.8% in Week 18.In the UK, the number of COVID-19 deaths registered have decreased since Week 16England had the highest number of deaths involving COVID-19, with 3,716 deaths, followed by Scotland with 415 deaths, Wales with 211 deaths and Northern Ireland with 84 deaths 

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