Official figures show that Covid wasn’t the cause of nearly 25% of all virus-related deaths last week. 

According to the most recent Office for National Statistics statistics, 922 deaths in England and Wales were recorded in January 2007. The death certificates for those affected by coronavirus included the word “coronavirus” on them. Of them, Covid was not ruled to be the primary reason for the death in 210 cases, or 23 per cent — although it may have been a contributing factor.  

For comparison, the share of deaths not primarily due to the virus stood at around 16 per cent when Omicron first arrived in the UK. It was approximately 10% when the country launched its historic vaccine drive in January with the Alpha wave.

The rise of the milder strain has led to a similar pattern emerging in hospitals, where nearly half of virus inpatients are not primarily needing treatment for the infection — compared to about 25 per cent with Delta.

Critics claim that the government’s coronavirus statistics may have been distorted by the increase in ‘incidentals.

Covid deaths are slowly rising over recent weeks. On average they hover at 200 in England each day, which means they track at half the rate of the worst flu season. At below 2,000 per hour, hospitalisations have slowed down.

The growing disconnection between serious illness and infection is leading to a decline in cases.

Boris Johnson may be preparing plans to eliminate all Covid laws starting in March, as the underfire PM attempts to win back his backbenchers. Plans B was introduced last month by the ministers to combat this highly-transmissible form. Both Covid passports as well as WFH guidance are expected to be abandoned later in March. 

The above figure shows the proportion of Covid deaths are people who have died from the disease (red) to those who have died with the disease (blue). It shows the proportion dying with the disease is now rising

This figure compares the death rates of people with Covid (red) and those without the disease (blue). The rising number of those who are dying from this disease shows how it is changing.

This graph displays the percentage of Covid patients who were admitted primarily to London for the disease (yellow), and England (red). These levels are decreasing, demonstrating how Omicron is becoming less severe.

Pictured above are the number of Covid patients in hospital (pink) and the numbers who were primarily admitted with Covid (blue) across England up to January 11

Above are Covid patient numbers in hospitals (pink), and Covid primary admissions (blue). These figures were taken from England between January 11th through December 11.

All Covid curbs must be lifted by March 31

Boris Johnson, the PM under fire today reported that he is preparing plans to scrap all Covid laws starting in March.

According to senior sources, the Government is considering moving away from England’s legally binding curbs and moving towards a guidance-based system in order to better cope with flu.

According to the official, even the most simple rules can be violated. This includes the obligation of self-isolation and cooperation with Test and Trace.

The Emergency Covid laws, which were adopted at the beginning of the pandemic, will be expire in March if not renewed in accordance with a timeline established prior to Omicron.

Ministers already plan to abandon Plan B curbs last month in order to stop the highly-transmissible variant. WFH guidance, and Covid passports could be stripped later this month.

Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, said today that he’s ‘cautiously optimistic’ about whether final Plan B curbs will be significantly reduced next week after ministers consider No10’s next steps.

Johnson apparently took great comfort in England’s declining case numbers, and low hospital rates. He believes that Covid will allow the UK to live safely with Covid.

According to The Guardian, he will finish the plan to allow coronavirus laws to expire in the next weeks. An announcement about which measurers will drop is expected to be made in March.

As he is facing calls from backbench MPs to accept his resignation over the parties at No10, the PM has also laid out other Tory-friendly policy options.


Each week, the ONS reports all deaths in which Covid was mentioned on the death certificates. The report then separates them into those where Covid was the primary cause of the death or one where it contributed.

This is different to the Government’s daily tally, which includes all deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid deaths — it means people who test positive for the virus but happen to be killed in a car crash are included.

According to The ONS, there have been 148.804 Covid deaths since the pandemic started in England. Of these, 132.4334 of them were caused by the virus.

According to the official dashboard, there were 138.971 Covid deaths between March 2020 and now.

Only those people with positive tests for the virus were included in the Government’s total. This means that it doesn’t include most deaths from the second wave of swabs, as they weren’t readily available.

The ONS data, on the other hand includes fatalities in which Covid was noted on the death certificates. 

Official ONS statistics showed that 14 percent of coronavirus-related deaths occurred after Omicron arrived late November.

As the virus became more common, however, Covid death rates that weren’t triggered directly by it have continued to increase. 

For comparison, at the peak of the Alpha outbreak last winter when 8,433 Covid deaths were recorded in a single week, just 823 of these were not due to the virus — or 9.8 per cent.

And in Delta’s deadliest week when 1,020 deaths were recorded in mid-November, just 162 were not caused by the virus — or 15.9 per cent. 

A similar rise in coincidental Covid deaths has emerged in the nation’s hospitals where 6,600 out of 15,000 Covid patients — or 44 per cent — were not primarily in hospital because of the virus at the start of January.  

Experts, Tory MPs and experts have urged the Government to distinguish between primary and second-line Covid patients in daily numbers for transparency.

But, NHS leaders claim that even patients with no symptoms after admission can cause strain to the system. They need specialist treatment and isolation.

Kevin McConway from the Open University is a statistician. He said that although there were fewer deaths involving Covid now, it was still possible the virus played an important role in the death of someone else.

He explained that the death certificate contains two sections on cause of death. 

The doctor would list all the diseases or conditions leading to the death. Covid in the relevant part of the body is usually considered as the cause. 

‘In the other section, the doctor lists “Other significant conditions contributing to death but not related to the disease or condition causing it.” 

‘If they mention Covid there, it wouldn’t be coded as the underlying cause, but it would have to be “significant” and “contributing to death”.

He added: ‘If Covid is mentioned on the certificate, but not as the underlying cause, that would mean that Covid hastened the death, or made the person’s last days much more difficult, or something like that.’

A SAGE advisor said that Omicron is unlikely to be the next deadly variant, which may signal the end of the worst pandemic.

Professor Andrew Hayward is an epidemiologist and sits on the advisory board. He predicted that Omicron would be outcompeted by any new variant, being transmissible more easily or more able to escape previous immunity.

Times radio interviewed him: “It looks like Omicron, in becoming more transmissible. It’s also become lower-severity, which we hope is the general direction.

Professor Hayward said that while the virus continues to transmit, the disruption caused by the virus will be less. 

“It will settle down into a seasonal pattern, I believe. We may still experience large winters of infected, but not to the extent that we could justify societal closure.

“So, it’s a genuinely optimistic picture. But we are still far from there.”

SAGE advisor Dr Mike Tildesley yesterday suggested that a new strain of Omicron would develop in the next few months.

It would allow the UK to shift to an ‘flu-like strategy’ for dealing with it, instead of having to place restrictions each winter. 

Ministers are looking to lift ‘Plan B’ restrictions in England, with vaccine passports and work from home guidance expected to go before the end of this month — but face masks are likely to remain in public settings.

Officials say they’re yet to decide but that they will be reviewing the data prior to the end of the current set of restrictions which expire on January 26.