DEATHS in the UK are below normal for a second week – as coronavirus fatalities have fallen to the lowest level since before lockdown.
A total of 8,979 deaths were registered in England and Wales in the week to June 26, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
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It’s 314 fewer deaths than the five-year average of 9,293.
Experts said figures last week showed it was the first time weekly mortality has been lower than typical since the week ending March 13.
It was branded “the end of the first wave of Covid-19” in the UK with 65 deaths below the five-year average.
The most recent statistics, published today show that in the week to June 26, there were 360 fewer deaths than the previous week.
The ONS said the number of deaths in care homes and hospitals was also below the five-year average – with 103 and 815 lower deaths respectively.
While the number of deaths in private homes was 745 higher than the five-year average.
Of those deaths registered in the week to June 26, 606 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate – the lowest number of deaths involving the virus since the week ending March 27.
The ONS said that coronavirus is likely to have brought forward some deaths of older and vulnerable people which could prompt a period of below-average deaths.
More than 55,000 deaths involving Covid-19 have been recorded in the UK during the outbreak, with the virus the main reason for deaths increasing above what would normally be expected for this period.
The elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions have been hardest hit by the pandemic.
The ONS said: “The disease has had a larger impact on those most vulnerable (for example, those who already suffer from a medical condition) and those at older ages.
“Some of these deaths would have likely occurred over the duration of the year but have occurred earlier because of the coronavirus.
“These deaths occurring earlier than expected could mean we start to see a period of deaths below the five-year average.”
The latest ONS figures also show that registered deaths involving coronavirus had dropped in all but one region in England and Wales in the week ending June 26.
In the North East there were two more deaths registered compared with the previous week.
All regions except the North West, East Midlands and North East saw overall registered deaths below that which would usually be expected for this time of year.
For the sixth week running, the number of deaths involving Covid-19 was highest in the North West.
The regions where the number of registered deaths was above the five-year average were north-west England (7.4 per cent above), the East Midlands (0.6 per cent above) and north-east England (0.6 per cent above).
The six regions with fewer deaths were south-west England (0.2 per cent below), Yorkshire & the Humber (0.4 per cent below), the West Midlands (2.4 per cent below), south-east England (9.5 per cent below), London (9.8 per cent below) and eastern England (12.6 per cent below).
In Wales, the number of deaths registered in the week to June 26 was 3.3 per cent below the five-year average.