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
creina.lilburne@health.org.uk
20 7664 4647 / 07941 156 827

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