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Excess death figures to be examined amid concerns about lockdown effects

Authorities have asked for excess deaths figures to be examined after it was reported lockdown’s effects may be killing more people than Covid-19 (Peter Byrne/PA)
Authorities have asked for excess deaths figures to be examined after it was reported lockdown’s effects may be killing more people than Covid-19 (Peter Byrne/PA)

Authorities have asked for excess deaths figures to be examined as it was reported lockdown’s effects may be killing more people than Covid-19.

Figures for excess deaths from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that around 1,000 more people than usual are currently dying each week from conditions other than the virus, according to the Telegraph.

The paper said the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) had asked for the data to be checked, with a department spokeswoman telling the PA news agency that circulatory diseases and diabetes “may be partly responsible” for the majority of excess deaths.

She said: “Analysis is ongoing, however early investigation suggests circulatory diseases and diabetes may be partly responsible for the majority of excess deaths.

“The latest data highlights the importance of actively managing risks around heart issues as there is good evidence many of these deaths are potentially preventable.

“These statistics form part of the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities’ routine surveillance activities and are regularly discussed within the Department of Health and Social Care and amongst senior NHS leaders.”

Graph showing Coronavirus deaths
Deaths involving Covid-19 in England & Wales (PA Graphics)

It comes as the number of deaths involving Covid-19 registered each week in England and Wales fell for the first time since mid-June, in fresh confirmation the recent wave of the virus is receding.

Some 723 deaths registered in the seven days to August 5 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This is down 11% on the previous week and comes after six consecutive weekly increases.

High levels of Covid antibodies among the population – either from vaccination or previous infection – mean the number of people seriously ill or dying from the virus this year has stayed low.

The ONS will publish detailed analysis later in August on deaths that took place last month.