Summary of the ONS report on deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, 29th September. 

September 29, 2020

Jason Oke, Daniel Howdon, Carl Heneghan

In week 38,  there were 9,523 deaths registered – 259 higher than the five-year average. 139 mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19), accounting for 1.5% of all deaths in England and Wales. The numbers of deaths in hospitals and care homes continued to be lower than the five-year average, while the number of deaths in private homes remained above the five-year average.

The latest release from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 29th September 2020 (Week 38) shows that registered deaths decreased from 9,811 in week 37 to 9,523 this week. 

Excess deaths

In week 38, there were 259 excess deaths, 139 of which were Covid deaths accounting for 1.5% of all deaths in England and Wales. The remaining 120 excess deaths were from other causes. 

In the last ten weeks, there have been 7,132 excess deaths in private homes compared to the five-year baseline.

Of these, under 2% (136) have featured COVID-19 on the death certificate. While there are also substantial negative excess deaths in hospitals (5,793) and in care homes (848), potentially suggesting that some people who would otherwise have died in other settings are instead dying at home, reasons for this shift are unclear and require explanation.

Deaths by date of occurrence 

Up to the 18th September, deaths in which COVID-19 is mentioned one the death certificate by date of occurrence have started to increase following the trend of deaths published by Public Health England (PHE).


And by place of occurrence. 

Respiratory deaths. 

Respiratory disease deaths continue to trend under the previous 10 years. 


Daniel Howdon is a Researcher, Health Economics, LIHS UCU Department Representative, Academic Unit of Health Economics, University of Leeds. Bio here 

Carl Heneghan is Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine, Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine and Director of Studies for the Evidence-Based Health Care Programme. (Full bio and disclosure statement here)

Jason Oke is a Senior Statistician at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and Module Coordinator for Statistical Computing with R and Stata (EBHC Med Stats), and Introduction to Statistics for Health Care Research (EBHC), as part of the Evidence-Based Health Care Programme.

Disclaimerthe article has not been peer-reviewed; it should not replace individual clinical judgement, and the sources cited should be checked. The views expressed in this commentary represent the views of the authors and not necessarily those of the host institution, the NHS, the NIHR, or the Department of Health and Social Care.