Deaths in care homes made up 40.4% of the overall number of coronavirus fatalities across England and Wales in the week to 1 May.

COVID-19 was mentioned on a third of all 17,953 death certificates in the two countries that week, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The ONS’ death total since the start of the outbreak – 33,337 – is also still 6,495 higher than the Department for Health’s figures during the same period.

In total, there were 8,312 coronavirus-related deaths in care homes in England and Wales up to 1 May.

In the week up to that date, the total number of fatalities with COVID-19 on death certificates in England and Wales decreased for the second consecutive time.

There were 6,035 in the week ending 1 May, compared to 8,237 the previous week.

And for the first time, there was a decrease in all regions on the previous week and London did not account for the biggest share – that went to the South East.

There were 966 coronavirus-related deaths in the region, making up 16% of the total, although the capital is still the biggest contributor to the overall figure at 40.2% of all fatalities linked to the disease.

In another first, the number of deaths in the week to 1 May involving COVID-19 was highest in women aged 85 and over at 6,780.

There were also more than 6,000 deaths among men aged between 75 and 84 (6,625) and 85 and over (6,434).

Men made up the majority of deaths in all age groups other than the over-85s.

The proportion of coronavirus-related deaths in care homes has reached even higher levels across Northern Ireland, where they have accounted for 45% of fatalities linked to the disease.

According to the latest figures from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, there have been 232 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in care homes across the country.

Pressures on social care are far from over
Analysis by Laura Bundock, news correspondent

The ONS figures are the most accurate measure of the death toll related to the pandemic.

They include deaths where COVID-19 is suspected but a test wasn’t carried out.

For the second week now, this figure has dropped, confirming we have passed the peak.

Break the figure down by region and London no longer has the highest number of COVID related deaths. It shows the capital reached and came through its peak earlier than the rest of the country.

But what we also see is where the deaths are occurring, and once again the number of deaths in care homes is continuing to rise.

It shows while the pressure on hospitals is easing, the pressures on social care are far from over.

(c) Sky News 2020: Coronavirus: 40% of recent COVID-19 deaths in England and Wales occurred in care homes – ONS