UK coronavirus death toll passes 40,000, official figures say | World news | The Guardian

UK coronavirus death toll passes 40,000, official figures say | World news | The Guardian

The UK death toll from Covid-19 has surpassed 40,000, according to official figures, with almost 10,000 care home residents now having died from coronavirus.

The Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday that 35,044 deaths involving Covid-19 were registered in England and Wales up to 9 May. Adding the latest figures for Scotland and Northern Ireland and more up to date fatalities announced daily by the government that occurred in NHS settings, the total official UK death toll now stands at 40,011.

The figures cement the UK as the worst-affected country in Europe. Italy has recorded 30,739 deaths, Spain 26,744 and France 26,604, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University (JHU). Germany has recorded 7,661 deaths.

The death tolls published by JHU do not always include deaths in care homes and private residences.

However, fatality rates are falling and for the first time since the pandemic took hold every region of England and Wales recorded a reduced death toll in the general population, the ONS figures showed.

Also for the first time, London, which was the centre of the worst initial outbreaks, did not have the highest count – that was instead recorded in the south-east. The capital recorded the sharpest fall in Covid-19 fatalities of any region in England and Wales.

For the second week running the death toll in English care homes from confirmed or suspected Covid-19 dropped. Total fatalities rose to 8,314, but weekly deaths fell to 1,503, down from 2,379 in the week ending 24 April, when it appears the pandemic reached its most devastating peak in the care sector. A further 350 people have died in care homes in Wales and 1,201 in Scottish care homes, representing 43% of all Covid-19 fatalities in Scotland – bringing the total UK care home fatalities from the virus to 10,949. Care home fatalities in those countries will be updated later this week.

The trend in the figures appears to confirm reports on Monday from two of the UK’s biggest care home operators, HC-One and MHA, which together operate 550 care facilities. They told the Guardian they had recorded falling death rates from Covid-19, with peaks on 19 and 22 April.

In figures supporting the view that England and Wales are past the peak in coronavirus infections, the ONS said that in the week ending 1 May, 17,953 people died from all causes, a decrease in overall morbidity for the second week running but still 8,012 more than the five-year average for that week.

That total was 4,398 fewer than the record level of 22,351 in the week ending 17 April.

The reasons behind the extra 8,000 deaths remain unclear, with speculation that they could have been caused by delayed hospital admissions for other life-threatening conditions and other factors such as economic hardship, and mental health problems.

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