Coronavirus killed three times more people in England and Wales than pneumonia and influenza combined in the first eight months of this year, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
“More than three times as many deaths were recorded between January and August this year where COVID-19 was the underlying cause compared to influenza and pneumonia," said Sarah Caul, head of mortality analysis at the ONS.
“The mortality rate for COVID-19 is also significantly higher than influenza and pneumonia rates for both 2020 and the five-year average."
The highest number of deaths due to influenza and pneumonia occurred in January 2020, according to the ONS. However, deaths from influenza and pneumonia were below the five-year average, from 2015 to 2019, in every month of 2020.
“Since 1959, which is when ONS monthly death records began, the number of deaths due to influenza and pneumonia in the first eight months of every year have been lower than the number of Covid-19 deaths seen, so far, in 2020,” said Caul.
The figures also reveal the toll that coronavirus has taken on care home residents, with the proportion of deaths due to Covid-19 almost double that due to influenza and pneumonia, according to the ONS figures.
The agency's analysis of Covid-19, influenza and pneumonia deaths focuses on deaths where people died due to these conditions, rather than deaths where the conditions were either the underlying cause or mentioned as a contributing factor.