Flu now killing five times more people than Covid-19

Influenza deaths overtook those caused by coronavirus in mid-June, UK figures show

Woman sneezing
Up to 650,000 people die worldwide from Flu every year, the WHO says
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Flu and pneumonia are now killing five times as many people as the coronavirus, according to the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

In the last week of July, 193 deaths were recorded as a result of coronavirus, a 19-week low, while 928 people died of flu and pneumonia in the same period, The Times reports.

It was the seventh week in a row that more people have died of flu and pneumonia than Covid-19.

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The coronavirus death toll was the lowest since the week ending 20 March, three days before lockdown was enforced, and well below the peak of 8,758 weekly deaths recorded at the height of the pandemic in April.

Overall deaths were also below the average for this time of year for the seventh consecutive week.

“Some of these deaths would have likely occurred over the duration of the year but occurred earlier because of Covid-19,” the ONS explained. “These deaths occurring earlier than expected could contribute to a period of deaths below the five-year average.”

Although flu deaths are outpacing coronavirus deaths, they remain low for this time of year. The July average for the past five years was 50% higher than this year’s figure.

This is “almost certainly a reflection of how effective social distancing has been in preventing flu deaths”, The Spectator says.

Revised toll

The UK’s official death toll has been “revised down by more than 5,000 following concerns that over one in ten” fatalities should not have been included in the official figure, The Guardian reports.

Previously, England included anyone who died after testing positive for Covid-19, regardless of how long after their test they survived and how they eventually died.

From now on, only patients who die within 28 days of their positive test will be included in the official toll, bringing England into line with Scotland and most other parts of the world.

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