Weekly coronavirus deaths have fallen again in England and Wales to just 84 — the lowest figure recorded since September last year.
There were 83 death certificates mentioning Covid in England and just one in Wales in the week ending June 11, according to data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). For comparison, the figure in the previous seven-day spell was 98.
Meanwhile, the same set of statistics also showed Covid accounted for just 0.8 per cent of all deaths recorded across the two countries in the most recent week. Influenza and pneumonia killed more than 10 times the amount as Covid, accounting for 1,163 deaths during the same week.
And analysis of the data by MailOnline revealed more than a third of all 300-plus councils across the two nations have not suffered a Covid fatality since April.
But Covid deaths lag behind infections by several weeks because of how long it takes for infected patients to fall seriously ill, meaning the rapid spread of the Indian variant — which forced Boris Johnson into delaying Freedom Day by four weeks — has yet to be picked up in fatality figures.
Scientists are divided on how much the increase in cases will affect death figures, with 31.5million Britons being fully vaccinated.
But the increase in coronavirus hospitalisations seen over the past fortnight suggests that some increase in daily deaths is inevitable in the coming weeks.
The ONS data showed deaths in general increased 31 per cent across both countries from 7,778 to 10,204 — but the figures are skewed by the May 31 bank holiday, with the delay in registrations over the long weekend pushing thousands of fatalities onto the following week.
Figures broken down by data of death show that weekly fatality tolls have remained flat over the past four weeks, hovering at around the 65 mark.
Weekly Covid deaths have fallen again in England and Wales by 14 per cent to just 84 — the lowest figure recorded since September last year — Office for National Statistics data showed today
Despite high vaccination rates among the elderly, most Covid deaths (45 out of 84) were in people aged 75 or over during the week
The ONS data showed deaths in general increased 31 per cent across both countries from 7,778 to 10,204 but the figures are skewed by the May 31 Spring Bank Holiday, which would have increased the number of deaths recorded in the week ending June 4
More than a third of all councils across the two nations have not suffered a fatality since April
Just 14 care home resident deaths involving Covid in England and Wales were registered in the week, up from 13 in the previous week
Some 122 out of 331 (37 per cent) of local authorities in England and Wales recorded no Covid deaths since April, the data showed.
Only two authorities recorded double figures: Bradford (18) and Bolton (11), which is the area that has been worst affected by the Indian variant and was inundated with cases of the mutant strain.
Some 294 authorities (89 per cent) recorded fewer than three fatalities with coronavirus on the death certificate over May and June.
But of the ten areas with the biggest death tolls since April, five were some of the original Indian variant hotspots that were hit worst by the variant before it became dominant across the UK. Other than Bolton, they were: Leeds (nine), Birmingham (eight), Blackburn (seven) and Bury (six).
Despite high vaccination rates among the elderly, most Covid deaths (45 out of 84) were in people aged 75 or over during the week. One death was recorded in the 10 to 14 age range, for the first time since March.
Just 14 care home resident deaths involving Covid in England and Wales were registered in the week, up from 13 in the previous week.
Some 42,525 care home residents in England and Wales have now had Covid recorded on their death certificate.
Meanwhile, a total of 153,630 deaths have now occurred in the UK where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate, the ONS said.
The highest number of deaths to occur on a single day was 1,481 on January 19. During the first wave of the virus, the daily death toll peaked at 1,461 deaths on April 8, 2020.
Experts have hailed the low death figures as ‘excellent news’ and suggested the surge cases caused by the Indian variant will not result in an inimitable large increase in deaths.
Professor Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics at the Open University, said: ‘Because of these Bank Holiday complications, I thought that the number of deaths involving Covid-19 for the most recent week might have been higher than for the week before, whatever the real trend is.
‘But the excellent news in this bulletin is that number of deaths involving Covid-19 actually fell again.
‘There were 84 Covid-related deaths in the week ending 11 June, compared to 98 in the previous (Bank Holiday) week and 95 in the week before that (which would not have been affected by the Bank Holiday).
‘The numbers are down in most age groups and most regions, comparing the latest week with either the previous week or the week before that.’
But he warned caution is needed in interesting the numbers, with separate daily figures for deaths within 28 days of a positive test showing deaths are starting to increase in more recent days.
Professor McConway said: ‘If, sadly, someone dies from Covid-19, that will on average happen somewhere round three weeks after infection.
‘So people who died in the most recent week in the ONS registration data would probably have been infected around the middle of May, allowing for a short delay in death registration.
‘The rise in new cases driven by the Delta variant didn’t really get going until about then, so it is still rather early to use these registration figures to assess what its effect on deaths might be.
‘Similarly any increase linked to step three of the England roadmap on 17 May also wouldn’t have happened in time to show up in the latest registration figures.’
He continued: ‘Overall, the position is positive so far, but that could change in the next week or two, by which time the effect of the Bank Holiday will also have finished.
‘I don’t think a large increase in deaths is inevitable, given the very encouraging recent data from PHE on the effectiveness of vaccines against hospitalisations involving the Delta variant.
‘But I’d be surprised if there is not some sort of increase, sadly — and we mustn’t forget that death is not the only very unpleasant possible consequence of a Covid-19 infection. The disease itself can be very unpleasant and distressing, and in some people the consequences — long Covid — can last a very long time.’