Ten per cent of patients who have died from coronavirus in England and Wales had no underlying conditions, figures today revealed.
Data compiled by the Office for National Statistics broke down the details of all the COVID-19 victims who succumbed to the illness in March.
As well as showing that 90 per cent of the victims were at risk because they had a medical issue, the report showed:
England’s death rate is 50 per cent higher than Wales’, with 68.5 deaths for every 100,000 people – compared to 44.5 in Wales;
Coronavirus was the third most common cause of death during March, behind only dementia (6,401) and heart disease (4,042);
Death rates are twice as high in men compared to women, with 97.5 deaths among every 100,000 men against 46.5 for women;
Heart disease was the most common pre-existing condition among the victims, with 14 per cent of victims having the condition;
The death rate in March was lower than the five-year average – despite the last week of March being the deadliest since 2005.
WHAT WERE THE 10 BIGGEST KILLERS IN MARCH?
- Dementia: 6,401
- Ischaemic heart disease: 4,042
- Coronavirus: 3,372
- Lower respiratory diseases: 2,925
- Cerebrovascular diseases: 2,562
- Influenza and pneumonia: 2,446
- Lung cancer: 2,299
- Unspecified: 1,395
- Bowel cancer: 1,252
- Blood cancer: 1,057
The ONS looked into the deaths that occurred in March in England and Wales, and found 3,912 involved COVID-19.
Of these, 86 per cent (3,372) had the coronavirus, called SARS-CoV-2, listed as the underlying cause of death.
But the ONS cautioned that the total number of deaths for the month is likely to increase as more deaths are registered.
Only two conditions killed more people in March – dementia and ischaemic heart disease, caused by a build-up of fat in the arteries.
For comparison, septicaemia – often referred to as blood poisoning – was listed as the underlying cause of deaths just 11 times.
HOW OLD WERE THE PATIENTS WHO DIED FROM COVID-19?
The virus was also shown to be a bigger killer than strokes, with 2,562 deaths listed as being caused by cerebrovascular disease.
Figures released by the ONS today also showed there was only one under-19 who died from coronavirus.
The figures did not breakdown ages of the other deaths that also involved COVID-19 but were not directly caused by the killer virus.
For example, NHS England data shows four under-19s died in hospital after testing positive for the illness last month, suggesting they died with the virus – not of it.
The large majority of coronavirus deaths – 54 per cent (1,828) were in the over-80s. A further 27 per cent (898) were in their 70s. Eleven per cent (379) of victims were in their 60s, meaning roughly 92 per cent of deaths were over the age of 60.
Figures also showed 2,068 men died in England and Wales last month, compared to 1,304 women – a difference of around 60 per cent.
When broken down into genders, COVID-19 was to blame for around 9 per cent of all deaths in men and 6 per cent in women.
In terms of rates – which provide a clearer picture of trends – around 69 patients died of coronavirus for every 100,000 people.
The rate was around 97.5 deaths for every 100,000 men, compared to 46.6 deaths for every 100,000 women.
HOW MANY MEN DIED COMPARED TO WOMEN FROM THE CORONAVIRUS?
Death rates increased in every age group for both men and women, and the gap between men and women was significant from age 55 and up.
A growing body of evidence from outbreaks all around the world now suggests that men are far more likely to be hit hard by the virus.
Scientists say they don’t know why women seem less likely to die, but have suggested that women naturally tend to have stronger immune systems and are less likely to have long-term health conditions which make patients more vulnerable.
Separate data showing the number of deaths recorded each day from coronavirus showed the crisis spiralled out of control in March.
For example, the ONS data showed that the daily count of fatalities jumped every day from March 10 until the turn of the month.
On March 31 491 deaths had been recorded – more than the 381 announced by the Department of Health, which tallies up the UK’s crisis each day.
It would suggest the true size of Britain’s death toll is 77 per cent higher than official figures show.
Using the same percentage added on to the most recent count of 12,868 yesterday, it would suggest the true death toll could be in the region of 22,000.
It comes after a separate ONS report laid bare the true scale of Britain’s devastating coronavirus crisis, suggesting there are potentially thousands of hidden victims.
Official data showed the week ending April 3 was the deadliest since records began in 2005, with 16,387 fatalities recorded. A graph shows how the week compares to others since the start of 2020
Coronavirus is now linked to more than one in five deaths per week, according to the data for the last week of March. In London, the virus was mentioned on the death certificates of almost half of fatalities
ONS data showed deaths in care homes made up 10 per cent of Britain’s fatality toll
More men are dying of coronavirus in every age bracket in England and Wales, official figures collated by the ONS show
HOW THE COVID-19 CRISIS SNOWBALLED IN MARCH
Figures showed the true number of people who have died of COVID-19 could be 52 per cent higher than official figures.
Only 3,939 hospital deaths were recorded up to April 3 by the Department of Health, which provides a daily update on the UK’s situation.
But the ONS said the true figure was 5,979, when hospital deaths were back-dated and fatalities elsewhere in the community were recorded.
The ONS’ death toll was also 15 per cent higher than the daily number given by NHS England, which collates hospital deaths on the day they occurred.
It comes after official figures yesterday painted an even worse picture in Scotland, where a quarter of all coronavirus deaths in Scotland have been in care homes.
Data from the National Records of Scotland showed 962 people diagnosed with, or suspected of having, COVID-19 had died up to April 12.
Of those, 237 (24.6 per cent) were in care homes, 586 in hospitals, 128 in homes and one in an undisclosed location.
The figure was five times higher than the 5 per cent number given by the Office for National Statistics, which collates data in England and Wales.
Government experts found 217 of 3,700 deaths had been recorded in care homes across the two nations registered up until April 3.
New figures by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) revealed that 962 people who were diagnosed with, or suspected of having, COVID-19 had died
Of those, 237 (24.6 per cent) were in care homes, 586 in hospitals, 128 in homes and one in an undisclosed location
The weekly NRS figures account for all deaths registered in Scotland when COVID-19 was mentioned in the death certificate. They differ from the Scottish Government’s tally of 566, which only includes cases where a laboratory has confirmed a positive diagnosis