Figures recently released by the Office for National Statistics show that there were 50,574 deaths occurring in England and Wales between 1 March and 30 June 2020 and registered by 11 July 2020 that involved coronavirus (COVID-19). This figure represented 22.9% of all deaths occurring over this period.
The total number of deaths recorded in England and Wales across this period was 220,636.
Breaking this down, the figures equate to 88.0 deaths involving coronavirus per 100,000 people in England and Wales over the period. The figures do, however, show an anomaly between the rates of death in both countries with England having the much higher incidence of 88.7 per 100,000 persons whilst the figures for Wales were substantially lower (although still far too high) at 73.7 per 100,000 persons.
The figures for Wales perhaps highlight the benefit of the tougher lockdown imposed by the devolved government and their refusal to ease restrictions as early as those in England.
Between March to June, London had the highest age-standardised mortality rate with 141.8 deaths involving COVID-19 per 100,000 persons; this was statistically significantly higher than any other region in England and nearly a third (30.2%) higher than the region with the next highest rate (North West).
However, all English regions and Wales recorded an increase in age-standardised mortality rate involving COVID-19 between March and April, followed by decreases in May and June; the mortality rate fell by more than four-fifths in all English regions and Wales between April and June with the greatest decrease also being seen in London where the mortality rate fell by 96.7%.
However, if you look further into the figures you will see that nine of the ten local authorities with the highest age-standardised mortality rates for deaths over this period were London Boroughs; Brent had the highest overall age-standardised rate with 216.6 deaths per 100,000 population, followed by Newham (201.6 deaths per 100,000 population) and Haringey (185.1 deaths per 100,000 population). It’s surely no coincidence that these boroughs also have a high proportion of ethnicities living within their areas. The figures tend to back up the evidence supporting the fact that ethnic populations are hit harder by the disease than other parts of the community.
Poverty is also shown to play its part as in England, the age-standardised mortality rate for deaths in the most deprived areas between March to June was recorded at 139.6 deaths per 100,000 population; this was more than double the mortality rate in the least deprived areas of the country. The figures in Wales also tended to mirror those seen in England with the most deprived areas in Wales had a mortality rate for deaths of 119.1 deaths per 100,000 population in the same period which were nearly twice as high as in the least deprived areas (63.5 deaths per 100,000 population).
Commenting on today’s release, Sarah Caul, Head of Mortality Analysis said:
“Following the peak recorded in April, in June we have seen a large decrease in the proportion of deaths involving COVID-19 across all English regions and Wales. London experienced the largest decrease over the period from having more than 1 in 2 deaths in April which involved COVID-19 to only about 1 in 20 deaths in June that were related to the coronavirus.
“The South West region continued to have the lowest proportion of COVID-19 deaths in June with about 1 in 30 deaths involving the coronavirus, while the North West had the highest where 1 in 8 deaths in June were COVID-19 related.”