Deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales have now exceeded 40,000 the Office for National Statistics has said.

In its latest analysis the ONS said there had been 41,220 deaths registered between December and 15 May where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

While the number of deaths is falling the North West had the highest number of virus related deaths for the second week in a row with a total of 620.

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On 17 March, Sir Patrick Vallance, the government's chief scientific adviser, said keeping the number of UK deaths below 20,000 would be a "good result".

Professor Stephen Powis, the medical director of NHS England also repeated this at a Downing Street press conference early in the pandemic.

Of the deaths registered in the week to 15 May, 3,810 mentioned “novel coronavirus” on the death certificate, the lowest number of deaths involving Covid-19 in the last six weeks but still making up more than a quarter of all deaths at 26 per cent.

The ONS said the number of deaths involving the virus in care homes registered by 15 May was over 11,000 with 548 deaths in Wales. This was 2,350 higher than the five-year average for care home deaths.

It also revealed there had been 49,120 deaths more than the five year average for the same weeks with 41,220 mentioning Covid-19.

There has been concern that some deaths have been linked to the disruption to NHS services and patients failing to attend A&E when suffering chest pains and other signs of illness due to fears of catching the virus.

The ONS has said it will investigate the number of non-covid related deaths and will publish a detailed analysis in the future.

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