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Coronavirus was not in the 10 leading causes of deaths in England and Wales last month
There were 2,703 excess deaths across England and Wales in September, official figures show - but coronavirus was not in the 10 leading causes of fatality.

The numbers released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), are relative to the five-year average, counting from 2015 to 2019.

The leading cause of death in September for both nations was dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

However, coronavirus was the underlying cause of death in 11.5% of all deaths in England and 9% of those in Wales from January to September this year.

But the data also shows more people who caught the illness died.

The age-standardised death rate in England in September due to COVID-19 was 12.6 per 100,000 people, up from 7.2 per 100,000 in August.

It is the first increase since the pandemic peaked in April, the ONS said, when it caused more than 600 fatalities per 100,000.

The ONS said: "In September 2020, the number of deaths and mortality rate due to Covid-19 remained significantly below levels seen in March 2020 - the first month a COVID-19 death was registered in England and Wales.

"However, the mortality rate due to COVID-19 was significantly higher in England in September 2020 compared with the previous month."


A business in Manchester packs up ahead of the city's new lockdown measures
dementia england 2020
More than 800,000 people have caught coronavirus in the UK since the start of the pandemic and more than 44,000 of them have died.

As cases have surged again in the second wave, millions of people are facing tougher lockdown rules in the next 24 hours.

Greater Manchester moved into the highest alert level, Tier 3, on Friday morning, and Wales will introduce its two-week "firebreak" lockdown at 6pm.

Andy Burnham

Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said the government had been ignoring businesses in the North for weeks.
Coventry, Stoke and Slough will enter Tier 2 on Saturday, while talks between Westminster and civic leaders in Nottingham over possible Tier 3 restrictions are continuing on Friday.

Under Tier 3 measures in Greater Manchester, pubs and bars will be closed, unless they are serving substantial meals, for a 28-day period, along with casinos, bingo halls and bookies.

mortality rates england
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has increased the financial support available for businesses and employees affected by the measures, announcing an emergency multi-billion pound bailout on Thursday.

The Job Support Scheme, which replaces the current furlough system from 1 November, will be made more generous in an effort to persuade firms to keep staff in work.

dementia wales sep 2020
There will also be grants of up to £2,100 a month available for firms in Tier 2 areas of England, aimed at helping hospitality and leisure venues which have seen takings plummet due to restrictions on households mixing.

Weekly deaths linked to coronavirus have risen to their highest level in England and Wales since the beginning of July, the agency said earlier this week.

A total of 438 deaths were registered in the week ending 9 October with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate, up from 321 deaths in the week to 2 October.
Analysis: Not a shock, but it's unlikely to last

By Thomas Moore, science correspondent

It's not a huge surprise that COVID-19 isn't in the top 10 causes of death in September. And it certainly doesn't mean we can relax.

The second wave only took off at the start of September, and it was young people in particular who were spreading the virus to start with. Most will only have had mild disease.

Infection rates in older people have risen more slowly. And because it takes a couple of weeks for people to become seriously ill and another week after that for some to die, the real impact of the rise won't be seen until October's ONS statistics.

The big question is whether the death rate will be as high in the second wave as in the first.

The people being infected now are younger than those back in the spring, so they're less likely to end up in hospital.

And even those who do need medical care have better odds of surviving, partly because doctors have a better understanding of how to manage the disease, but also because of drugs like the steroid dexamethasone.

In some parts of the country the number of infected people is now so high that even with a lower fatality rate, hospitals run the risk of being stretched to capacity. There really is no room for complacency.