Covid responsible for 97% of 2020 UK excess deaths

The number of deaths registered in England and Wales in 2020 was 14.3% above the average for the previous five years, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) says.

A total of 607,922 deaths were registered in the UK, compared with an average of 532,077 in 2015-19.

This means there were 75,845 extra deaths, or “excess deaths” – with the ONS saying Covid-19 is responsible for 97% of these.

Meanwhile, deaths in private home in England and Wales were a third higher in 2020 than in the previous five years, the ONS says.

There were 166,576 deaths from all causes in private homes in England and Wales in 2020, compared with an average of 125,255 between 2015 and 2019.

The majority of deaths due to Covid-19 occurred in hospitals and care homes, while many deaths from other causes, such as breast cancer and prostate cancer, happened in private homes.

Many of these deaths at home were people who, in a non-pandemic year, may have died elsewhere such as in hospital, the ONS adds.

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