Covid deaths three times higher than pneumonia and flu

Covid-19 has killed more than three times as many people as pneumonia or flu since the start of the year, according to new figures for England and Wales.

Of all death occurrences between January and August 2020, almost 48,200 were due to coronavirus, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found. That compares to just over 13,600 deaths due to pneumonia and 394 due to influenza.

Influenza and pneumonia were mentioned on more death certificates than Covid-19, however coronavirus was the underlying cause of death in more than three times as many cases.

The highest number of deaths due to flu and pneumonia happened in January 2020, but levels were still below the five-year average (2015 to 2019) in every month. Covid caused more deaths than pneumonia or flu between March and June.

Sarah Caul, Head of Mortality Analysis, said: “The mortality rate for Covid-19 is significantly higher than influenza and pneumonia rates for both 2020 and the five-year average.

“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.”

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