Covid now NOT underlying cause in 27% deaths in UK as patients die 'with' rather than 'from' virus

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The proportion of Covid deaths where the virus is not the underlying cause is continuing to increase in England and Wales, official data showed today.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show there were 1,484 deaths involving the coronavirus registered in both countries during the week ending January 21.

Covid was not the primary reason in 27 per cent of cases — up from a figure just below 23 per cent towards the start of the month. 

For comparison, the share of deaths not primarily due to the virus stood at around 16 per cent when Omicron first arrived in the UK. With the Alpha wave last January, before vaccines were dished out en masse, the proportion was about 10 per cent. 

The rise of the milder Omicron strain has led to a similar pattern emerging in hospitals, where half of virus inpatients are not primarily needing treatment for the infection.

Critics have warned that the rise in so-called ‘incidental’ cases, driven by the sheer prevalence of Omicron, is skewing the Government’s daily coronavirus statistics.

It comes after the Government yesterday added re-infections to its daily stats dump for the first time, which put an extra 580,000 cases to the cumulative total.

The update means the case-death rate in the fourth wave has been even lower than initially thought and is up to 30 times lower than in the second wave this time last year. 

The proportion of ‘incidental’ Covid deaths where the virus was not the main cause has continued to increase to 27 per cent in England and Wales in the week ending January 21, Office for National Statistics data showed today

1,484 mentioned 'novel coronavirus' on the death certificate in the week ending January 21, an increase of 7.4 per cent on the previous week when 1,382 were recorded. But just 1,082 of those were primarily caused by the virus, with non-incidental Covid deaths only increasing by 1.1 per cent over the same period

1,484 mentioned ‘novel coronavirus’ on the death certificate in the week ending January 21, an increase of 7.4 per cent on the previous week when 1,382 were recorded. But just 1,082 of those were primarily caused by the virus, with non-incidental Covid deaths only increasing by 1.1 per cent over the same period

The ONS figures show England and Wales registered 12,776 deaths from all causes in the week ending January 21. Covid caused 8.5 per cent of all deaths in England and Wales. It was mentioned on the death certificate of 11.6 per cent of fatalities

The ONS figures show England and Wales registered 12,776 deaths from all causes in the week ending January 21. Covid caused 8.5 per cent of all deaths in England and Wales. It was mentioned on the death certificate of 11.6 per cent of fatalities

Daily dashboard figures show Britain’s Covid deaths have remained stable over the past month, falling 8.9 per cent in a week to 51 yesterday.

But the Government’s figures, unlike the ONS’, are based on fatalities registered within 28 days of a positive test – regardless of the underlying cause. 

The ONS’ analysis, published weekly, looks at all death certificates registered and distinguishes between those who died ‘from’ Covid versus ‘with’ the virus.

Reinfections are added to official totals for the first time sending infection stats soaring 

The overall number of Covid infections reported on the Government website soared yesterday as reinfections were included for the first time.

The revision added more than 800,000 new cases to England’s total count because until now reinfections have only been included in daily updates and not the cumulative total.

On Sunday, the UK’s cumulative case count stood at 16,478,467 but this jumped to 17,315,893 cases yesterday. Daily new cases also soared from 69,007 on Sunday to 92,368 yesterday. But deaths dropped from 56 last Monday to 51 yesterday.

The update will reduce the case fatality rate (CFR) – the percentage out of all those cases that end in death – by a significant amount.

And it could mean that Omicron proves to be even milder than first thought, as research suggests two in three of those infected with the variant have previously caught Covid.

Experts caution, however, that even if someone didn’t die directly from Covid, the virus may have still contributed to their death.  

The ONS figures show England and Wales registered 12,776 deaths from all causes in the week ending January 21. This was down by 535 from the previous week and 8.6 per cent below the five-year-average.

Of those deaths, 1,484 mentioned ‘novel coronavirus’ on the death certificate — an increase of 7.4 per cent on the previous week.

But just 1,082 of those were primarily caused by the coronavirus, a figure that rose just 1.1 per cent over the same period. It was the lowest share since last summer, according to the ONS figures.      

Covid caused 8.5 per cent of all deaths registered in England and Wales for the week ending January 21. The virus was mentioned on the death certificate of 11.6 per cent of fatalities.  

The increase in deaths not primarily caused by the virus has been mirrored by a huge surge in ‘incidental’ Covid hospitalisations.

The majority of infected patients being treated on NHS wards were not primarily ill with the virus as of January 25, illustrating .

There were 13,023 Covid patients in hospital, according to the latest NHS England figures, of which only 6,256 were primarily there for the virus (48 per cent). 

This share has plummeted since the emergence of the Omicron variant in late November, when three-quarters of inpatients were mainly ill with the disease.  

Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious diseases expert at the University of East Anglia, previously told MailOnline it was ‘absolutely’ the time to start differentiating between primary and incidental Covid patients in the daily numbers.

The majority of Covid patients in English hospitals are not primarily being treated for the virus for the first time in the pandemic. The share of primary Covid patients has plummeted since the emergence of the super-mild Omicron variant in late November, when three-quarters of inpatients were mainly ill with the disease

The majority of Covid patients in English hospitals are not primarily being treated for the virus for the first time in the pandemic. The share of primary Covid patients has plummeted since the emergence of the super-mild Omicron variant in late November, when three-quarters of inpatients were mainly ill with the disease

here were 13,023 Covid patients in hospital on Tuesday (January 25), according to the latest NHS England figures, of which only 6,256 were primarily there for the virus, or 48 per cent

He told MailOnline last week: ‘I think that data should be on the dashboard, giving more information is always better than giving less. It all fits in with the observation that Omicron is more infectious but less severe.’

His comments were echoed by Cambridge University epidemiologist Raghib Ali, who said: ‘Ideally that kind of breakdown would be helpful… the more transparency the better.

‘When we get the daily figure of many people are in hospital with Covid, people don’t appreciate there is a much higher proportion [of non-primary Covid]… it has impact on policy response as well.’   

The overall number of Covid infections reported on the Government website soared yesterday, as health officials included reinfections for the first time.

The revision added more than 800,000 new cases to England’s total count because until now reinfections have only been included in daily updates and not the cumulative total.

On Sunday, the UK’s cumulative case count stood at 16,478,467 but this jumped to 17,315,893 cases yesterday.  

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