England and Wales have witnessed 27,000 more deaths than expected since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, according to new data.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show there were more than twice as many deaths in the week ending 17 April than would have been expected in an average year.

A total of 22,351 people died during the week – more than twice the 10,497 seen across the previous five years. 

Those 11,854 excess deaths are the highest recorded in a single week and take the total since the start of March to 27,015.

It also emerged that in the two weeks starting on April 10 there had been 4,343 Covid-19 deaths in care homes in England alone – 37% of all deaths registered in care home during that time.

Nick Stripe, head of the health analysis and life events division at the ONS, said there had probably been at least 5,500 virus-related deaths in care homes – which would account for nearly a quarter of all excess deaths.

Only 19,093 of the 27,015 excess deaths have been officially attributed to Covid-19.

That leaves a gap of 7,922 deaths which are officially “unexplained” but are likely to be associated with the virus – either as a direct cause, or because the lockdown has restricted access to other forms of health and social care.

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