Deaths are below average for this time of year, figures show, in the latest sign that the pandemic is coming to an end.
New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that deaths in England and Wales were 7.8 per cent below the five-year average for the week ending Jan 7.
The fall remains even though the ONS has removed 2020 from its five-year average figure because the first year of the pandemic was so extreme.
When 2021 was also removed, there were just 87 more deaths than expected, which experts said was “nothing unusual”, arguing that the 922 Covid deaths reported that week were being offset by fewer deaths from traditional winter killers such as flu.
The ONS figures also show that the virus was not the primary cause of death in nearly a quarter of the registered Covid deaths.
For the UK as a whole, deaths were down 8.3 per cent, with 1,255 fewer people dying than would normally be expected for the first week of January.
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