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Wales has passed two sobering coronavirus death toll milestones this week – Wales Online

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/coronavirus-deaths-4000-5000-milestone-19616098

Ten months after the first person died in Wales with coronavirus, the death toll has passed another grim milestone, with more than 4,000 people now having died with lab-confirmed virus.

The true death toll, where coronavirus is mentioned on the death certificate, had also reached 4,945 on January 1 according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) so will now be significantly past 5,000.

These bleak milestones have been passed as the turn of a new year has done little to slow the spread of the virus – January 1 was the deadliest day so far since the pandemic arrived on Welsh soil with 55 deaths with Covid-19 in a single 24 hour period.

It now appears almost certain, depending how you measure the data, that there has been a greater loss of life with Covid-19 in the second wave than in the first.

The Public Health Wales figures suggest that significantly more people have died with the virus since September 1 than died before, 2,468 compared to 1,595 – a total of 4,063.

But given the lack of testing in the early days of the pandemic, the ONS data is likely to be more reliable. This suggests that 2,557 people lost their lives with Covid-19 in the weeks to August 28 and that 2,338 died between then and January 1. Given the large number of deaths that have been reported every day since then, this too suggests the second wave has become more deadly than the first.

Just today, on January 13, 2021, a further 66 deaths were reported.

On March 16, health authorities reported that a person in their 60s had become the first to die in Wales.

Since then, there have been two distinct “waves” of the virus and at the end of 2020, the rate at which people were dying with coronavirus in the second wave overtook the death rate at the height of the first wave in April.

Public Health Wales data shows that on January 1, the number of people reported dying with coronavirus peaked at 55. There were seven days in December where the number of people who died with coronavirus exceeded 40.

Before this, the highest number of deaths recorded on a single day was 43 on April 13.

According to the latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) report on deaths in Wales, the number of deaths involving Covid-19 reached 310 for the week ending January 1, which is 209 higher than the five-year average.

For the four-week period between December 4 and January 1, the Covid-19 disease has been mentioned on 1,067 death certificates in Wales.

The total number of people reported to have died with coronavirus since the start of pandemic is 4,945 according to the ONS death registrations. This is just over a fifth higher than that reported by PHW.

According to ONS data, the rate of people dying with Covid during the pandemic is highest in Rhondda Cynon Taf at 27.73 deaths per million. That’s nearly double that in Cardiff, which has a death rate of 15.13 per million during the second wave.

Other areas with high death rates include Merthyr Tydfil, Blaenau Gwent and Neath Port Talbot.

Ceerdigion and the Isle of Anglesey have the lowest death rates for the pandemic at 5.92 and 5.43 respectively.

There has been a stark difference in the death rates across Wales during the pandemic. The south Wales valleys have been the hardest hit by the virus across Wales. The far south west and north west corners of Wales have been the least affected.

The Cwm Taf Morgannwg health board area has been the hardest hit, with 24 deaths per million population. This is nearly three times higher than in the Powys Teaching health board, which has 8.8 deaths per million.

The latest weekly figures from the ONS for the week ending January 1 show that three health boards recorded the highest number of deaths registered involving Covid since the end of April at the peak of the first wave of the pandemic.

Cwm Taf Morgannwg had the highest numbers of weekly deaths in Wales. There were 76 deaths in the area – including 66 in hospitals and six in care homes.

The Aneurin Bevan health board, with 68 deaths registered involving Covid, also had its highest number in a single week since the end of April.

Hywel Dda health board reported 37 deaths – its highest weekly figure since the pandemic began.

Looking at council areas, Rhondda Cynon Taf had the second highest number of hospital deaths across England and Wales, with 34. The London borough of Newham had 35.

So-called excess deaths, which compare all registered deaths with previous years, continue to be above the five-year average.

Excess deaths is regarded as a useful measure of how the pandemic is progressing.

In Wales, the number of deaths fell from 825 to 727 in the latest week, but this was still 209 deaths (40.3%) higher than the five-year average for that week. This is the second highest proportion after London.