Number of overall deaths in North Yorkshire higher than average in March

The number of people who died in North Yorkshire in March was up almost 4% when compared to the previous five-year average for the month.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the overall number of deaths in the county last month was 612.

In comparison, the average number of deaths from all causes in March over the previous five years is 589.

A further breakdown of the figures show the Harrogate district has seen a slight drop in its number of deaths. The ONS figures show that overall deaths in the district in March were 141, slightly down on the previous five-year average of 143 for the month.

Earlier this week, it was reported that weekly deaths in England and Wales had hit a 20-year high with the ONS disclosing 18,500 deaths in the week up to 10 April – about 8,000 more than is normal at this time of year.

Experts believe this period could well be when virus deaths peaked.

A third of the deaths were linked to coronavirus, but deaths from other causes also increased, suggesting the lockdown may be having an indirect impact on health.

However, worrying research from the Financial Times suggests that the UK total is expected to be well over double the latest figures reported by the government.

The newspaper reported that the number of UK deaths could be as high as 41,000.

It based this estimate on figures from the ONS that were also published on Tuesday, including deaths that occurred outside hospitals updated to reflect recent mortality trends.

The newspaper says that its analysis also backs up the idea that the peak of UK deaths occurred on April 8, with the fatality rate slowing gradually after that date.

Harrogate Hospital has so far reported that 43 of its patients who tested positive for coronavirus have died since the start of the outbreak. [kofi]