According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of weekly coronavirus registered deaths in England and Wales has dropped to its lowest level since last July.
Only a total of 410 deaths registered in the seven days to May 27 noted COVID-19 on the death certificate. This is down 25% from the previous seven days and adds to the fourth consecutive week where data has shown a clear downwards trend.
The rise of infections earlier this year was mainly down to the Omicron BA.2 variant, which caused 1,125 resulting cases just two months ago. However, this was significantly lower than the 8,433 deaths documented at the pinnacle of the second wave in the week to January 29, 2021.
Health offices in Scotland and Northern Ireland have recently stopped reporting the number of people who have died within 28 days of testing positive, which had been the government’s preferred benchmark for the UK’s official death toll.
As per the government’s guidelines, people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms are no longer required to test themselves regularly, while access to free tests is restricted to a reduced number of groups in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This means that data based just on positive tests is not likely to reflect the true prevalence of coronavirus in the community or the real level of mortality.
However, the latest figures show that deaths within a 28-day period of a positive test are still being reported for England and Wales. Overall, 198,332 people have died in the UK where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, the ONS said. The highest number of cases on a single day was 1,488 on January 19 2021.
During the first wave of the virus, the daily toll peaked at 1,461 on April 8, 2020. Roughly 9 in 10 deaths with COVID-19 on the death certificate have cited coronavirus as the primary cause of death since the start of the pandemic, while a minority have listed the virus as a contributory factor.