COVID-19 alone with no underlining health issues November 2019 to December 2021

Release date: 18 January 2022 - FOI Ref: FOI/2021/3387​

FOI Request - You asked Please supply how many people have died from COVID-19 alone with no underlining health issues, from November 2019 to December 2021.

We said ​Thank you for your request.

ONS are responsible for the production of mortality data for England and Wales, this is derived from death certificates in the process of death registration.

For mortality figures where COVID-19 was the sole cause of death, please see: Pre-existing conditions of people whose death was recorded with an underlying cause of COVID-19, this dataset can be found in section 8 of the Monthly mortality analysis bulletin.

This dataset provides a greater insight into the leading pre-existing cause of death groups, for deaths occurring in England and Wales, in 2020 and the first three quarters of 2021 that were due to COVID-19.

We do not hold COVID-19 data for 2019. The first death involving COVID-19 in England and Wales was registered in March 2020.

Please see 'table 1a, row 28' (2020) and 'table 1, row 29 (2021)' for deaths where COVID-19 was listed as the underlying cause, but had no other pre-existing conditions recorded on the death certificate, England and Wales. Table 1b represents these figures for England and table 1c figures are for Wales.

This publication will be updated quarterly. COVID-19 deaths involving pre-existing conditions is split by broad age groups between 1-64 and 65+.

Please see below for death registrations for 2020 and 2021 (provisional) that were due to COVID-19 and were recorded without any pre-existing conditions, England and Wales.

2020: 9400 (0-64: 1549 / 65 and over: 7851) 2021 Q1: 6483 (0-64: 1560/ 65 and over: 4923) 2021 Q2: 346 (0-64: 153/ 65 and over: 193) 2021 Q3: 1142 (0-64: 512/ 65 and over: 630)

We have not yet finalised analysis for 2021 Q4. This is currently scheduled for release on 23 February 2022.

As such, the some of the information you have requested is considered exempt under Section 22(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, whereby information is exempt from release if there is a view to publish the information in the future. Furthermore, as a central government department and producer of official statistics, we need to have the freedom to be able to determine our own publication timetables. This is to allow us to deal with the necessary preparation, administration and context of publications. It would be unreasonable to consider disclosure when to do so would undermine our functions.

This exemption is subject to a public interest test. We recognise the desirability of information being freely available and this is considered by ONS when publication schedules are set in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics. 

The need for timely data must be balanced against the practicalities of applying statistical skill and judgement to produce the high quality, assured data needed to inform decision-making. If this balance is incorrectly applied, then we run the risk of decisions being based on inaccurate data which is arguably not in the public interest.  This will have an impact on public trust in official statistics in a time when accuracy of official statistics is more important to the public than ever before.

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