Nearly one third of recently registered Covid deaths in England and Wales are people who died primarily from other causes, the latest figures show.
Weekly death data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that, for nearly 33 per cent of people included in the overall coronavirus death figures, Covid was not an underlying cause of death but was merely mentioned on the death certificate.
The number of people who are not principally dying from Covid but are still being included in the official figures has been creeping up steadily as the pandemic has declined.
It had been running at around 10 per cent for most of the crisis but had risen to nearly a quarter by mid-April and is continuing to increase.
In the latest data, published on Wednesday, which records death registrations in the week ending April 23, some 260 deaths from Covid were recorded in England and Wales, but only 67.7 per cent (176) of those had the virus as an underlying cause.
The new figures showed that more people are now dying from flu and pneumonia than Covid for the first time since before the second wave.
While 176 people were listed as dying from Covid as the underlying cause, 278 died from influenza and pneumonia.
The figures show that coronavirus deaths in England and Wales now make up just 2.6 per cent of all deaths – the lowest since September. At the height of the second wave earlier this year, some 45.7 per cent of all deaths involved the virus. [Yet many superstition-driven restrictions, which were pointless even then, remain.]
England and Wales have been trending well below the five-year average death rate for the past seven weeks, with the latest data showing 5.3 per cent fewer deaths recorded overall compared to the expected figure and 497 fewer deaths than the previous week.
Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics at the Open University, said: “It’s pretty well all good news. Registered numbers of deaths from all causes for the most recent week are almost 500 down compared to the week before. The most impressive declines were in deaths involving Covid-19.”
The number of registered deaths has fallen by nearly two thirds in four weeks and is 97 per cent lower than the January peak.
Separate data from the ONS released on Wednesday also showed that people are no more likely to test positive for Covid if they travel to work by bus or train compared with those who use their own car or take a taxi.
The latest infection survey figures show that the risk of diagnosis for commuters rose by up to twice as much compared to home workers, whether they took public transport or used a private vehicle.
Statisticians said there was some “limited evidence” that those who travelled by foot or bike were slightly less likely to catch the virus, but could not be sure of the result.
They added: “However, there was no evidence that the likelihood of testing positive differed between people travelling to work by train or bus, compared with those travelling to work by car or taxi.”
For those working outside the home, the ONS found that the more difficult it is to maintain social distancing, the more likely they are to test positive for Covid.
Those who reported that maintaining social distancing at work was easy had the same likelihood of testing positive as those working from home, while those who reported that maintaining social distancing at work was very difficult were around 50 per cent more likely to contract the virus.
Source: The Telegraph