Period Of "Excess Deaths" From Second Coronavirus Wave Has Ended, New ONS Figures Show
The figures found the UK's death rate from Covid had also dropped by a third in recent weeks
The number of people dying in England and Wales has dropped below historic averages for the first time since August, new figures have shown.
The latest research from the Office For National Statistics found that a total of 10,987 people had died in the week ending 12 March, which is 511 deaths fewer than the five-year average for the same period.
The research suggests the excess death toll triggered by the second wave of the pandemic had now ended.
But figures also showed that the UK was close to registering 150,000 deaths from the pandemic, with the tally for 12 March standing at 149,117.
Covid deaths have dropped by a third in the last week, with 1,501 deaths during the seven day period, down from 2,105 during the previous week, data showed.
It comes after the UK registered its highest daily fatalities during the second wave of the pandemic, with a record 1,465 deaths on 19 January.
But the stats group found death rates had plummeted among older people since that peak, with deaths involving Covid-19 falling by 91% among the over-80s, 89% for those ages 75-79, 88% for those aged 70-74 and 85% among those aged 60-69.
The significant drop in deaths comes as the UK continues to rollout its vaccination programme to those aged 50 and above, and those aged 16-49 with significant health conditions.The stats were released as the UK prepares to mark the anniversary of the introduction of the first lockdown with a national minute's silence to remember those who have died during the pandemic.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the anniversary would offer an "opportunity to reflect on the past year – one of the most difficult in our country’s history."
"We should also remember the great spirit shown by our nation over this past year," he said.
"We have all played our part, whether it's working on the front line as a nurse or carer, working on vaccine development and supply, helping to get that jab into arms, home schooling your children, or just by staying at home to prevent the spread of the virus."