Covid no longer the leading cause of death in England and Wales

Coronavirus was not the leading cause of death in England and Wales in March for the first time since October, new figures show.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 2:07 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 2:26 pm

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows Covid-19 was the third leading cause of death in both countries that month, accounting for 9.2% of all fatalities registered in England and 6.3% in Wales.

The virus was the leading cause of death each month from November to February.

The figures also showed deaths due to Covid fell month-on-month by 75% from February to March.

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The leading cause of death in March was dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in England, accounting for 10.1% of deaths registered that month, followed by ischaemic heart disease.

In Wales, ischaemic heart disease was the leading cause of death in March, accounting for 11.8% of fatalities, followed by dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The new data comes a day after the Government said a further 22 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Wednesday, bringing the UK total to 127,327.

Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show there have been 151,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

Provisional ONS figures, published on Thursday, show there were 45,567 deaths registered in England in March, 956 fewer than in the same month last year but 656 more than the five-year average from 2015-19.

Of these deaths, 4,198 were due to coronavirus, a month-on-month fall of 75% from 16,682 in February.

In Wales, the provisional number of deaths registered in March was 2,984, 150 fewer than in March 2020 and 87 fewer than the five-year average for that month, the ONS said.

Of these, 189 were due to coronavirus, a month-on-month drop of 73% from 711 in February.

The ONS said 154,020 deaths occurred in England between January 1 and March 31 and were registered by April 8, which was 14,061 (10%) more than the five-year average for 2015-19.

Of these 43,715 deaths (28.4%) were due to coronavirus.

In Wales, 9,666 deaths occurred from January to March, 246 (2.6%) more than the five-year average, with Covid the underlying cause in 23.2% (2,243).

The ONS said the five-year average had been provided for 2015 to 2019 rather than 2016 to 2020 to provide a comparison with a non-pandemic period.

The ONS said age-standardised mortality rate (ASMR) of deaths due to Covid-19 in March was 89.3 deaths per 100,000 people in England, the lowest rate since November, and 65.2 per 100,000 in Wales, the lowest since October.

The East Midlands region had the highest mortality rate for deaths due to Covid-19 in England in March at 118.9 per 100,000 people, followed by the West Midlands at 103.8.

The South West continued to have the lowest Covid mortality rate at 45.7, the ONS said.