Responding to the weekly mortality stats from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for the week ending 1 January 2021, Nuffield Trust Deputy Director of Research Sarah Scobie said:
"By the end of last year, we had already seen an increase in the number of Covid registered deaths. With the dramatic and rapid rise in cases following the looser restrictions over the festive period and the severe impact this is having on health services, we can only expect these numbers to grow further for some time.
"The majority of these deaths are taking place in hospitals (68%), but it is very concerning to see within this latest set of data that the numbers of Covid deaths in care homes are rising. This rise, coupled with an increase in the number of outbreaks of Covid in care homes, paints a worrying picture. Nobody wants to see a repeat of the first wave where the virus spread through care homes at pace. The vaccination of these most vulnerable people is now underway, but due to the time lag in gaining immunity and collecting this data, we will not see this impact for a few weeks yet.
"We now have a complete picture of 2020 in terms of registered mortality. In just over a calendar year, 614,114 deaths were recorded. The pandemic's impact is sobering, making it the most deadly year since the Spanish Flu struck in 1918. While 2021 brings hope in the form of vaccines, the difficult sights that we currently see across the health service, and rising cases make it clear we still have some way to go."
Notes to editors
- The Office for National Statistics weekly mortality statistics are available from: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredweeklyinenglandandwalesprovisional/weekending1january2021
- Yearly data comparison for 2020 covers Saturday 28th December 2019 to Friday 1st January 2021.
- The Nuffield Trust is an independent health think tank. We aim to improve the quality of health care in the UK by providing evidence-based research and policy analysis and informing and generating debate.
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