Without a fully functioning test and trace system, there is real risk of more avoidable deaths Health Foundation response to ONS weekly deaths in England and Wales

2 June 2020

Commenting on today’s release of Office for National Statistics (ONS) dataDeaths registered weekly in England and Wales for the week ending the 22 May 2020, Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive at the Health Foundation, said:

'Today’s ONS data are a sobering reminder of the numbers of people who have died in recent months – with 56,308 more people having died since the start of the pandemic at the end of March than would have been expected for this time of year. More than three quarters of these were directly attributed to COVID-19 on their death certificates. The UK is now among the worst hit countries in terms of excess mortality and we will need to be forensic in searching for the reasons we have been so badly affected.

‘It is positive to see the number of excess deaths is reducing each week, but this most recent week’s data show 2,589 deaths in England and Wales registered as due to COVID-19. This is still a large number, and over a thousand more people died in care homes than would be expected for this time of year.   

‘These data underline just how dangerous a threat the virus remains unless it is fully contained and further outbreaks can be stopped. Having a fully functioning test and trace system will be critical, as will the willingness and ability of the public to maintain recommended levels of social distancing. Without these, there are real risks of more avoidable deaths.'

Media contact

Creina Lilburne
20 7664 4647 / 07941 156 827

Further reading


Three tests for the COVID-19 contact tracing app

29 May 2020

Adam Steventon sets out three key tests for the government's contact tracing app.


COVID-19 chart series

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has delivered a profound shock to the UK. We'll be exploring...

You might also like...


Webinar: What does the pandemic mean for the nation’s health and health inequalities?

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a huge impact on our society and economy but what are the...

Press release

Over 700,000 patients served by GPs at high risk of COVID-19 could be left without access to face-to-face GP appointments

New Health Foundation research reveals that one in three GPs who singlehandedly manage a GP practice...


COVID-19 policy tracker

A timeline to 3 August 2020 of national policy and health system responses to COVID-19 in England.

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

Get social

Check out the Policy Navigator in full: https://t.co/ZUllHTNvsV https://t.co/kwJ3H0Gc9l

Follow us on Twitter
Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more