ALMOST one in every ten coronavirus deaths in England and Wales were in “healthy” people, figures released today have revealed.
New statistics show that 91 per cent of people who died from Covid-19 had at least one underlying health condition.
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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that the most common were heart disease and dementia.
Chronic lower respiratory diseases, diabetes and the flu were other pre-existing conditions that accounted for the most deaths.
The new analysis detailed all deaths that occurred in England and Wales between March 1 and 31, registered up to April 6.
In that time period, there were 3,912 deaths involving coronavirus – of which 86 per cent had Covid-19 listed as the cause of death.
In 91 per cent of cases, the patient also had at least one pre-existing condition.
Heart disease was the most common main pre-existing condition and was involved in 541 deaths – or 14 per cent of all deaths involving Covid-19
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The analysis of all deaths registered so far in March found that eight per cent involved coronavirus, making it the third biggest killer – after dementia and coronary heart disease.
It accounted for seven per cent of all deaths in England and Wales that month – nine per cent of all deaths for males and six per cent for females.
Twice as deadly for men
Figures also revealed that the death rate for men with coronavirus was double that of women.
The mortality rate for males who died due to coronavirus was 97.5 deaths per 100,000 population, while for females it was 46.6 deaths per 100,000, the ONS said.
Including cases where Covid-19 was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, the death rate for men was 113.1 per 100,000 for men and 54.1 per 100,000 for women.
Death rates increased in every age group for both men and women, and the gap between men and women was significant from age 55 and up.
The ONS pointed out that, in general, men have a higher mortality rate than women.
It also found the mortality rate in England was “significantly higher” than in Wales, at 69.7 deaths per 100,000 people compared to 44.5 deaths per 100,000 people.
The ONS cautioned that the total number of deaths for the month is likely to increase as more deaths are registered.
Nine in 10 of the deaths involving Covid-19 were in people with pre-existing conditions, the ONS said.
Among those who had no pre-existing conditions was 13-year-old Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, from Brixton, London, who died of coronavirus last month.
Luca Di Nicola, 19, originally from Italy but living in North London, was also understood to be healthy but passed away just 30 minutes after being rushed to hospital – from apparent fulminant pneumonia.
It comes as the number of people who have died in hospital after testing positive for Covid-19 has reached almost 13,000, with growing concern over increasing deaths in care homes.
Meanwhile, the Government is expected to announce that lockdown measures will be extended for another three weeks today.
Ministers will meet this morning to agree to prolong the social distancing controls announced on March 23, amid signs the epidemic in the UK is beginning to peak.
Downing Street said the three-week review of the lockdown regulations will go ahead as planned in line with the coronavirus legislation.
However, ministers and officials have repeatedly made clear there is no prospect of any imminent relaxation.
On Wednesday night, health minister Nadine Dorries took to Twitter to urge journalists to stop asking about an exit strategy.
She said: “There is only one way we can ‘exit’ full lockdown and that is when we have a vaccine.
“Until then, we need to find ways we can adapt society and strike a balance between the health of the nation and our economy.”
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Speaking at the daily No 10 press conference on Wednesday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there could be no “let up” in the efforts to curb the spread of the virus.
“We cannot let go of the hard work that has been done so far. This shared sacrifice is starting to work but we will not lift these measures until it is safe to do so,” he said.
The human cost of the epidemic was underlined with the disclosure that the latest victims of the disease included pregnant nurse Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong, 28, who had worked on a general ward at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital for five years.
Her baby, a girl, was delivered successfully and was doing well, according to the hospital.
According to the latest figures, 13,729 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Tuesday, up by 861 from the previous day.
However, England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty warned of a possible “bounce” in the numbers when the next set of figures are released due to delays in reporting deaths over the Easter weekend.
He said while the UK was “probably” reaching the peak of the epidemic, the high numbers of deaths were expected to continue for a “short while” to come.
Meanwhile, captain Tom Moore, 99, who is walking 100 lengths of his garden to generate cash for the NHS has been praised as “an inspiration to us all” as his fundraising campaign passed the £12 million mark.
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