There have been nearly 50,000 excess deaths in England and Wales since the coronavirus outbreak began, new figures have revealed.

The Office for National Statistics has released new figures for the number of coronavirus-related deaths in England and Wales, which, when analysed alongside existing data, brings the UK death toll to more than 44,000. 

The figures show that 121,002 deaths were registered in England and Wales between March 21 and May 8 2020 - which is 49,575 more deaths than the average for this period in the previous five years.

Covid-19 was responsible for 37,187 (75%) of these excess deaths.

Deaths registered by week

The remainder – excess deaths not linked with Covid-19 – might have been caused by factors connected to wider changes in England and Wales since the lockdown began: a reluctance on the part of some people to visit a doctor or a hospital, for instance, or the result of long-term health conditions being made worse by having to remain at home.

The ONS said it is continuing to investigate the number of non-Covid-19-related deaths and will publish detailed analysis.

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The new figures also show that coronavirus-related deaths in England and Wales fell by more than a third during the most recent week the ONS has published data for.

In the week up to May 8, there were 3,930 deaths where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate, according to the ONS.

This is a drop of 2,105 deaths from 6,035 deaths the previous week.

However, the ONS said the early May bank holiday had affected the number of registrations of deaths from all causes, with 88 deaths registered on May 8 compared with 2,950 the previous Friday.

Nick Stripe, head of health analysis at the ONS, said that death registrations for the week ending May 8 were about 20 per cent lower than if there had been no bank holiday.

The total number of deaths in care homes also fell in the week ending May 8 - from 2,423 to 1,666 - however, the proportion of coronavirus deaths taking place in care homes rose.

Care home deaths accounted for 42.4 per cent of coronavirus-related fatalities registered in England and Wales in the week ending May 8 - up from 40 per cent the previous week.

Deaths registered by place of occurrence

The proportion of hospital Covid-19 deaths continued to decrease, making up 50.5 per cent of the coronavirus-related deaths in the week ending May 8.

The new figures released today bring the total number of coronavirus-related care home deaths in England and Wales to 9,980 up to May 8.

The figures cover those who have died in care homes where Covid-19 is mentioned anywhere on a death certificate, including in combination with other health conditions.

However, Mr Stripe said around 15,000 deaths of care home residents have taken place up to May 15 across England and Wales.

This is based on the ONS data up to May 8, separate ONS analysis which shows deaths of residents in hospitals up to May 1, and death notifications from providers to the Care Quality Commission and Care Inspectorate Wales up to May 15.

There were 1,369 death notifications made to the CQC in the week ending May 15, and around 3,500 Covid-19-linked deaths of care home residents in hospitals, up to May 1.

In total, the ONS says there were 39,071 deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales up to May 8 and registered up to May 16.

This compares with 29,349 deaths of people testing positive for Covid-19 reported by the Department of Health and Social Care for the same period.

Cumulative deaths involving Covid-19 in England & Wales

The ONS total is 33 per cent higher than the Department of Health total.

This is because the ONS figures include all mentions of Covid-19 on a death certificate, including suspected cases, and are based on the date that deaths occurred.

The Department of Health figures are based on when deaths were reported, and are for deaths where a person has tested positive for Covid-19.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “Every death from this virus is a tragedy and our deepest sympathies go out to the families who have sadly lost relatives.

“Supporting the social care sector throughout this pandemic is a priority. We are working around the clock to give the social care sector the equipment and support they need.

“We are ensuring millions of items of PPE are available to care workers, using our increased testing capacity to test care home residents and staff regardless of symptoms and introducing our new £600 million Infection Control Fund to help prevent the spread in care homes.”