Deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales have dropped by a staggering 99% from the peak of the virus' second wave, new figures suggest.
Most age groups are now seeing the lowest number of deaths for nearly eight months, as the combined impact of lockdown restrictions and the vaccine rollout since January continue to drive down the number of infections and hospital admissions.
A total of 125 deaths occurred in the week ending April 30, where Covid-19 was recorded on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This is down 99% from the 8,979 deaths recorded in the week to January 22, when more than a thousand people were dying each day during the peak of the second wave.
Analysis of the ONS data by the PA news agency shows age groups 75-79 and 80 and over have both recorded drops of 99%, while for people aged 60-64, 65-69 and 70-74 the fall is 98%.
Some 61 deaths involving Covid-19 among people aged 80 and over occurred in the week to April 30, the lowest since the week to September 11 2020.
The equivalent number for people aged 90 and over was 19 deaths, the lowest since the week to September 4.
And for people aged 70 and over, the number of deaths in the week to April 30 was 93, the first time the total has dropped below 100 since September 11.
Deaths that occurred in the most recent week of reporting, the week to May 7, are still being registered and have been excluded from the analysis.
The figures suggest the strict lockdowns introduced across England and Wales at the start of the year, coupled with the increasing take-up of Covid-19 vaccinations, have together played a critical role in limiting the spread of the virus among the population.
Research published last week by Public Health England indicated that around 11,700 deaths among people aged 60 and over in England were prevented by Covid-19 vaccinations up to the end of April, including 9,900 for those aged 80 and over.
An estimated 3,900 hospital admissions were prevented in those aged 65 to 74, along with 13,100 in those aged 75 to 84 and 16,000 in those aged 85 and older.
Across the UK as a whole, a total of 152,919 deaths have now occurred since the start of the pandemic where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
The highest number of deaths to occur on a single day was 1,477 on January 19.
During the first wave of the virus, the daily death toll peaked at 1,461 deaths on April 8 2020.