Covid became the ninth leading cause of death in England in July as the country ended all lockdown restrictions on Freedom Day, official figures revealed today.
The virus accounted for 969 out of the 40,467 fatalities from all causes last month (2.4 per cent), the equivalent of nearly one in 40, according to the Office for National Statistics.
It marks a significant rise from June, when Covid was England’s 26th biggest killer and made up 0.9 per cent of deaths – fewer than one in 100.
But the proportion of deaths caused by the virus was still far lower last month than at other points in the pandemic thanks to the vaccines.
For comparison, Covid was accounting for 37 per cent of all deaths in England at the height of the second wave in January.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s was responsible for four times more deaths than Covid last month, while heart disease and lung cancer continue to round out the top three causes.
The 969 Covid deaths last month equate to an average of 31 deaths per day throughout the whole of July. However, this number has risen significantly since Freedom Day went ahead on July 19 and triggered a sustained uptick in cases and deaths. The UK as a whole is currently averaging 98 deaths per day.
Covid was the leading cause of death in England at the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020, but it plummeted to 26th place in June. But it has now jumped 17 places to be the ninth biggest killer. In July, 969 of the 40,467 fatalities recorded in the country were caused by the virus, while a total of 1,161 people had Covid mentioned on their death certificate
On average, 31 people died due to Covid a day in July. According to official Government figures, a high of 102 Covid deaths were recorded in one day in July, but these include anyone who passed away and tested positive within the previous 28 days, meaning some died from other causes and just happened to have the virus. Meanwhile, an average of 142 people died a day from dementia and Alzheimer’s, the country’s biggest killer last month, followed by heart disease (131), lung cancer (71) and brain disease (69)
In addition to the 969 deaths in England last month where Covid was the underlying cause, a further 192 people died with Covid, according to the ONS.
This means the virus was mentioned on a total of 1,161 death certificates in the country last month and was the underlying cause in 88.9 per cent of those fatalities.
The ONS calculated that 20.5 deaths per 100,000 people were due to the virus in July. One month earlier, Covid caused just 7.5 fatalities per 100,000 individuals.
Top 10 leading causes of death in England and Wales in July
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease: 4,404 deaths
Ischaemic heart diseases : 4,062 deaths
Malignant neoplasm of trachea, bronchus and lung: 2,196 deaths
Cerebrovascular diseases: 2,148 deaths
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 2,024 deaths
Malignant neoplasm of colon, sigmoid, rectum and anus: 1,216 deaths
Influenza and pneumonia: 1,141 deaths
Symptoms, signs and ill-defined conditions: 1,129 deaths
Malignant neoplasms, stated or presumed to be primary of lymphoid, haematopoietic and related tissue: 950 deaths
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease: 282 deaths
Ischaemic heart diseases : 277 deaths
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 173 deaths
Cerebrovascular diseases: 153 deaths
Malignant neoplasm of trachea, bronchus and lung: 132 deaths
Influenza and pneumonia: 93 deaths
Malignant neoplasm of colon, sigmoid, rectum and anus: 76 deaths
Symptoms, signs and ill-defined conditions: 73 deaths
Malignant neoplasms, stated or presumed to be primary of lymphoid, haematopoietic and related tissue: 56 deaths
Cirrhosis and other diseases of liver: 55
(22nd place) Covid: 33
The North of England continued to be the region with the highest Covid deaths rates in July, recording 50.1 per 100,000 people – nearly double the national average.
Overall, the number of fatalities recorded in England in July was 7.6 per cent higher than the five year average, with 2,864 more deaths recorded compared to the same month in 2015 to 2019.
Meanwhile, ONS figures for Wales reveal Covid was the 22nd leading cause of death last month, accounting for 33 of the 2,738 deaths registered.
This equated to 1.2 per cent of all deaths, a jump from the 0.1 per cent of fatalities in the country were due to the virus in June.
ONS calculates show 11.6 deaths per 100,000 people were caused by Covid in July. One month earlier, deaths from the virus were so low in the country that this rate couldn’t be calculated.
But fatalities due to the country’s top killers are significantly higher than deaths due to Covid.
In July, dementia and Alzheimer’s killed 4,404 people in England, equating to 142 deaths a day and 10.9 per cent of all fatalities last month.
There was also 4,062 deaths due to heart disease (10 per cent), 2,196 caused by lung cancer (5.4 per cent) and 2,148 from brain disease (5.3 per cent).
And lung disease (2,024), colon cancer (1,216) and influenza and pneumonia (1,141) were also behind more deaths than Covid.
The ONS said deaths from influenza and pneumonia were 25.5 per cent lower in England and 21.8 per cent lower in Wales in July compared to the five year average.
It expects this is due to Covid restrictions – such as social distancing – having the knock on effect of reducing the spread of these illnesses.
But Covid is still the leading cause of death this year, accounting fro 15.4 per cent of all deaths in England and 12.3 per cent of all fatalities in Wales.
So far this year, the virus has killed 49,831 people in England and 2,560 individuals in Wales.
Of those who died from Covid between April and June, 23 per cent had diabetes.
And 8.9 per cent of fatalities had dementia and Alzheimer’s.
There was a decrease in the number of over-65s who died from the virus in the second quarter of the year. Some 87 per cent of all Covid deaths between January and March were in this age group.
But just 73.7 per cent of people who died from the virus between March and June were aged 65 or over.
And there was an increase in the number of younger people who died from the virus, with just 13 per cent of deaths occurring in the over-64s at the beginning of the year to 26.3 per cent by the second quarter.
Deaths due to the coronavirus increased in both England and Wales last month. Some 969 people in England died from Covid (2.4 per cent), while there was 33 Covid fatalities in Wales (1.2 per cent). One month earlier, the total number of deaths due to the virus was 625 in England and 31 in Wales
The five year average provides an indicator of the number of deaths expected each month. The ONS excluded 2020 from the five year average, because of the pandemic’s impact on last year’s figures.
Booster shot of Pfizer’s vaccine slashes the risk of catching Covid FOURFOLD in over-60s, Israel’s health ministry says
A third dose of Pfizer’s Covid vaccine significantly improves protection against infection and serious illness in the over-60s, according to an official study in Israel.
It found that people given a booster shot were four times less likely to catch the virus after 10 days compared to those only given two doses.
A third jab also enhanced protection from serious illness and hospitalisation in the over-60s by five to six times, according to the study by the Israeli Health Ministry.
The findings, believed to be based on real-world data, were presented at a meeting of a ministry panel of vaccination experts on Thursday. But full details of the study are yet to be released.
They are in line with separate data reported by Israel’s Maccabi healthcare provider last week which found the boosters to be highly effective.
Israel became the first country in the world to start administering booster shots to the over-60s at the end of July — with more than a million already jabbed.
But amid a surging fourth wave of infections from the Delta strain, the programme has been expanded to all over-40s, medics, teachers and other frontline workers.
Britain is under mounting pressure to follow suit but the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises No10 on the roll out, is only expected to green light third doses for vulnerable adults.
It comes as Wales and Northern Ireland are recording their highest rates of new cases of Covid since January, as the third wave of the coronavirus continues to pick up pace across the country, new figures show.
Fermanagh & Omagh in the south-west of Northern Ireland has the highest rate of any local authority in the UK, with a total of 1,003.9 cases per 100,000 people recorded in the seven days to August 18.
This is the first time that any local authority in Northern Ireland has recorded rates over 1,000 since comparable records began in summer 2020, when mass testing was first introduced.
The figures show how the third wave of coronavirus, which began in the UK at the end of May of this year, is once again on the rise after a period last month when it appeared cases may have peaked.
Around two-thirds (67 per cent) of all local authority areas across the UK are currently recording an increase in case rates, including every area in Wales, all but one area in Northern Ireland (Mid Ulster) and all areas on mainland Scotland, according to analysis by the PA news agency.
Northern Ireland’s rate of new cases currently stands at 579.5 per 100,000 people, the highest since January 8. while Wales is now at 297.4 per 100,000, the highest since January 16.
The picture is slightly different for the other two nations.
In Scotland rates are also rising sharply, but are currently below the levels reached earlier in the third wave at the start of July.
Scotland recorded 289.2 cases per 100,000 people in the week to August 18, up week-on-week from 167.2, though still below the recent peak of 425.0 on July 3.
England is the only one of the four nations where rates are currently rising slowly rather than sharply, with 323.8 cases per 100,000 in the week to August 18 – up from 306.9 a week earlier.
England is also still some way from hitting the sort of levels seen last month, when case rates peaked at 543.4 on July 19.
All four nations have now experienced a similarly “shaped” third wave.
Cases began to rise from the end of May and spiked in July, although on different dates for each nation; this was followed by a partial fall in cases and a levelling off; then came a renewed increase in cases in August, which was sharp enough in Wales and Northern Ireland to overtake the spike in July.
Unlike the first and second waves of coronavirus cases, however, the third wave has yet to cause a similarly sharp rise in the number of hospital cases and deaths.
A total of 6,441 patients with Covid were in hospital in the UK as of August 19.
This is up 9 per cent on the previous week and is the highest number for five months.
But it is a long way below the 39,254 patients who were in hospital at the peak of the second wave on January 18 – the highest for any day since the start of the pandemic.
Meanwhile the average number of UK deaths reported each day of people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid currently stands at 98.
This compares with a peak of 1,248 on January 23.
The relatively low levels of hospital patients and deaths during the third wave so far reflects the impact of the Covid vaccination programme, which has now seen nearly 77 per cent of all people in the UK aged 16 and over fully vaccinated.
The vaccine rollout in England is estimated to have directly averted between 91,700 and 98,700 deaths, together with more than 82,100 hospital admissions, according to the latest figures from Public Health England.
Vaccination rates vary between the four nations, particularly among young people, however.
Northern Ireland is estimated to have given a first jab to only 68 per cent of 18 to 29-year-olds, compared with 71 per cent in England, 73 per cent in Scotland and 76 per cent in Wales.
Northern Ireland has just held a ‘Big Jab Weekend’ in an attempt to encourage people to come forward for their first dose, with health officials saying at least 8,000 vaccinations were delivered over the past two days.