More than 900 Covid deaths recorded in England and Wales in first week of January

There were 922 Covid deaths registered in England and Wales in the week to 7 January, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

This was a rise of 58% from the previous week. However ,the increase is artificially high because the figures in the previous week’s release were affected by the Christmas and Boxing Day bank holidays.

Of all deaths registered in the first week of January in England and Wales, 7.5% mentioned Covid – up from 6.9% in the last week of 2021.

A total of 130 care home residents’ deaths were registered involving Covid-19 in England and Wales in the first week of the new year, up from 64 in the previous seven days. However, the rise was affected by the closure of register offices with two bank holidays in the final week of 2021.

The ONS weekly death count includes all deaths where Covid was mentioned on the death certificate and now exceeds 176,000 deaths. The government counts only those deaths recorded within 28 days of a positive Covid test, which stands at more than 152,000.

The seven-day average figure for cases in England has been falling in recent days and stood at 1,531 cases for every 100,000 people on 12 January, the latest date for which figures were available.

Northern Ireland’s rate was higher, at 1,911 cases per 100,000, while Scotland and Wales reported rates of 1,394 and 1,347 per 100,000 respectively.

The average of people being treated for Covid in UK hospitals has risen by 63% since the turn of the new year, according to the latest available government data.

A total of 19,452 patients were being treated in UK hospitals on average in the week to 14 January, the highest weekly figure since 19 February 2021.

However, the total number of patients hospitalised with Covid has been falling in more recent days: it stood at 19,345 on Friday, having reached a post-Omicron high of 19,906 on Monday 10 January.

In the past week, an average of 794 patients have required mechanical ventilation for Covid but, in a sign of the combination of lower severity of the Omicron variant and high vaccination coverage, this is less than one-third of the number of that required in mid-February 2021.

The figures come as the government is reportedly considering ending all Covid restrictions in England, including the mandatory isolation period for infectious people. The legal requirement to self-isolate is one of several pieces of Covid legislation due to expire in March.

The isolation period was recently reduced to five days for those with negative lateral flow tests.

Plans to end other measures such as working from home guidance and Covid passports are also set to be announced soon.

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