The number of deaths involving Covid-19 registered each week in England and Wales has risen for the fifth week in a row, but levels continue to remain well below those seen in the early part of the pandemic.
A total of 745 deaths registered in the seven days to July 22 mentioned coronavirus on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This is up 27% on the previous week and is the highest number since the seven days to April 29.
The upward trend reflects the recent wave of Covid-19 infections caused by the spread of the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.
The wave is now thought to have peaked, but it is likely to be a few weeks before the death figures start to level off.
This is because the trend in death figures always lags behind the equivalent trend in infections, due to the length of time between someone catching the virus and becoming seriously ill, together with the time it takes deaths to be reported and registered.
During the two previous Omicron waves earlier in 2022, weekly deaths in England and Wales peaked between 1,000 and 1,500.
This was some way below the peak seen during the Alpha wave in January 2021, when the weekly total reached nearly 8,500.
High levels of Covid antibodies among the population – either from vaccination or previous infection – mean the number of people seriously ill or dying from the virus this year has stayed low.
Overall, a total of 202,689 people in the UK have now had coronavirus recorded on their death certificate since the pandemic began, the ONS said.
This includes all instances where Covid-19 has been mentioned on a certificate, either as a main cause of death or a contributory factor.
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