90 per cent of England & Wales areas saw no Covid deaths in April – with virus now the NINTH cause of death

NEARLY 90 per cent of 7,000 areas in England and Wales saw NO Covid deaths in April, new figures show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data also revealed the virus is now the ninth cause of death in England – with more people dying of old age last month.

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An interactive map shows how deaths attributed to Covid have fizzled out, with only a handful of places seeing fatalities in April.

It also marked the first month since August 2020 where deaths have been below the five year average, and comes as the Indian variant continues to spread across the country.

The ONS data shows that there were a handful of areas that recorded three deaths each.

These included areas such as Hounslow in London – where the Indian variant has also been found and where extra measures will be rolled out.

It comes as:

  • All Brits aged over 18 could get Covid vaccine within a MONTH as race against Indian variant continues
  • Failure in NHS Track and Trace ‘helped Indian variant spread in hotspots’
  • Indian Covid variant: Everything you need to know from symptoms to cases
  • Pioneering Brits to test out ‘green’ Covid vaccine made from plants
  • Britain ‘WILL reach population Covid immunity’ as vaccine rollout ramps up, expert says

The other areas include Castle Point, Warrington and Birmingham.

Data from the ONS is collected from Middle Layer Super Output Areas (MSOA) which helps experts gather data from smaller, local areas.

Despite the Indian variant now being dominant in 23 areas, data shows thatthe amount of areas with zero deaths went from 57.9 per cent in March to 87.6 per cent in April.


Heart diseases, dementia and Alzheimer's were the biggest killers last month, showing the virus is slowing.

The data revealed 24.5 per 100,000 people died of “symptoms signs and ill-defined conditions” – code for old age and frailty – the eighth biggest cause of death.

Meanwhile just 20.6 per 100,000 died from Covid.

In Wales, Covid-19 has dropped off the top-10 all together to become the 18th leading cause of death.

It is a dramatic fall from March, when coronavirus was the third top cause of death in both countries – and the leading cause over the winter.

In both England and Wales, heart disease, dementia and brain conditions including stroke were the top killers last month.

 

Flu and pneumonia also accounted for significantly more deaths than Covid – 24.9 per 100,000 in England and 25.7 per 100,000 in Wales – even though these were lower than normal.

The ONS said: “Seven of the 10 leading causes of death were significantly lower than the five-year average.

“In particular, the mortality rate for flu and pneumonia was 53.7 per cent lower in April 2021 than the five-year average.

“This is likely in part because of coronavirus restrictions and guidance, such as social distancing, reducing the spread of infections such as flu.

“In Wales, the mortality rate for flu and pneumonia was 66.9 per cent lower than the five-year average.”

DON'T PANIC

Data from the ONS today comes after experts at the ZOE Symptom Tracker app also published their latest figures.

Concern has been growing due to the Indian variant and surge testing and extra vaccine capacity has been rolled out across the country.

But study lead Prof Tim Spector, a leading epidemiologist, said there was “no need to panic” about the highly transmissible strain.

He said outbreaks of the Indian variant, B.1.617.2, remain localised and may not translate into a nationwide problem.

The Indian variant has become dominant in 23 areas of England, meaning it has overtaken the Kent strain.

And infections have risen to almost 3,000 from 2,323 two days ago and 520 on May 5.

But health leaders are throwing all their efforts into containing the outbreaks, using surge testing in 12 areas to find more cases.

Door-to-door testing and encouragement of vaccination in affected areas has been ramped up.

 

Measures like this have worked previously to dampen down the South African variant in the North West and London.

And Prof Spector noted that South African and Brazilian variants have rarely spread beyond small clusters in the past.

Prof Spector said: “While the outbreaks remain localised and UK numbers are steady and most cases appear mild, it’s highly unlikely to cause the NHS to be overrun or stop us coming out of lockdown. 

“So no need to panic, but do stay vigilant.”

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