FLU has killed more people in the UK than coronavirus for seven weeks in a row, new stats reveal today.
Almost five times as many people are now dying of influenza or pneumonia than Covid-19, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.
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In the seven weeks up to July 31, the latest date for which figures are available, 2,992 people died of coronavirus – but 6,626 died of flu or pneumonia.
A total of 1,002 died of influenza in the week up to June 19 – compared to 783 Covid-19 deaths.
The gap has widened each week up to the end of last month when flu killed 928 people – almost five times as many as the 193 who lost their lives to coronavirus.
Overall during that seven-week time frame, 6,626 people died of flu – and 2,992 died of coronavirus.
Flu deaths are also lower than the five-year average – highlighting the drop in coronavirus fatalities.
The reason for the drop in flu deaths isn’t yet known, although it’s believed it could be the result of increased hand-washing and mask wearing.
Some of those who die with coronavirus and flu will have the final cause of death recorded as ‘pneumonia’ – the illness which ultimately causes death.
It’s likely that, as a result, there will be some overlap in figures.
However, even with that as a factor, more people are now dying of pneumonia caused by flu – and not coronavirus.
It comes as figures show coronavirus deaths in England and Wales are at the lowest level since before lockdown began in late March.
The number of people dying from the deadly bug has dropped drastically.
Fatalities are now around the same as they were 19 weeks ago.
Lockdown began in the UK on March 23. The strict laws are being eased in stages.
Across the whole of the UK, there have now been more than 56,800 deaths involving coronavirus, officials say.
The number is higher than the total released by the Government, which currently records the total as 46,595.
Most of those who lost their lives were 75 or older, with 38,578 people in this age group dying with the illness in total.
It was announced this afternoon that three different daily coronavirus death tolls are set to be published after Public Health England (PHE) were said to have “exaggerated” the tally.
Health secretary Matt Hancock ordered a review after scientists discovered that anyone who tests positive and later dies of Covid-19 is currently included in the PHE numbers – even if they recover, and are then hit by a bus months later.
A review is due to be published within days and three new tolls are expected to be used after a deal was reached between ministers and scientists.
Elsewhere, strict local lockdowns are in place in areas including Greater Manchester and Preston after a spike in fresh cases, many of which were found in young people.
And it was today announced that UK unemployment since March rose to 730,000 after another 114,000 Brits lost their jobs last month alone.
The fall in employment between April and June is the largest quarterly drop since 2009.