Surge in excess deaths recorded in Redbridge in March

PUBLISHED: 17:00 04 May 2020

Deaths were up 38 percent in March in Redbridge - 51 more than the number recorded in March 2019.

Deaths were up 38 percent in March in Redbridge - 51 more than the number recorded in March 2019.

PA Archive/PA Images

Deaths in Redbridge surged above usual levels in March, as the coronavirus crisis unfurled, official figures show.

Experts have warned the outbreak could continue to have far-reaching consequences on mortality rates across the UK, including among those who do not catch the virus.

Office for National Statistics figures show 186 deaths were recorded in Redbridge during March.

That was 51 more than the number recorded in March 2019 – 38pc more.

This was far higher than the average rise across London’s 33 local authorities, where death counts increased by 27pc.

Across England and Wales, 5,826 extra deaths were registered this March than in the same month last year – 49,641 in total, an increase of 13pc.

The figures include all deaths, not just those directly attributed to Covid-19.

But medical experts have warned the death toll could go far beyond just those who contract the virus, as the effects of the shutdown begin to be seen on mortality rates in other areas of healthcare.

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A report from University College London and DATA-CAN, the Health Data Research Hub for Cancer, has warned 18,000 more people could die from cancer across England in the next year.

They attributed this to a drop in urgent referrals for suspected cancer cases and fewer patients accessing chemotherapy.

Professor Harry Hemingway, director of the UCL Institute of Health Informatics and senior author of the report, said: “The overall impact of the Covid-19 emergency on deaths in cancer patients could be substantial.

“There are many factors operating here, including rapid changes to diagnosis and treatment protocols, social distancing measures, changes in people’s behaviour in seeking medical attention and the economic impact of Covid-19, as well as deaths due to Covid-19 infection.”

The British Heart Foundation has warned people are putting their “lives at risk” by delaying seeking treatment for heart attacks.

This followed a 50pc drop in the number of people attending A&E with possible heart attack symptoms in March.

An ONS spokeswoman said there could be many reasons why deaths not related to the coronavirus may have increased, and work is ongoing to try to understand the trends.

She said: “In the four weeks up to April 17, approximately 30pc of deaths registered above expected levels for the time of year did not have Covid- 19 mentioned on death certificates. There may be many reasons for this.

“We have a programme of more complex analyses of death involving Covid-19 and investigating excess deaths not involving Covid-19 is one of them.

“These pieces of analysis are complex, requiring multiple data sources. This analysis is currently underway, and we will be able to make further announcements when these will be released in the coming weeks.”

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