As the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK subsides, the findings of a review of deaths in Wales associated with the virus has been published.
The ‘Examining deaths in Wales associated with COVID-19 has been published today and reviews death data from ONS, Welsh Government and other sources for the months between 1 March and 31 May 2020.
The report shows that the countries of the UK have suffered differently from coronavirus. There were proportionally fewer deaths in Wales than in the UK as a whole during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic and fewer than most parts of England.
During 1 March and 31 May, coronavirus was a factor in 24.1% of all deaths in Wales. The equivalent proportion of coronavirus related deaths in England was 42%.
In Wales, mortality rates from coronavirus were highest in the Cardiff and Vale Health Board area, with death rates highest among older people, people from BAME communities, and deprived communities. Men have consistently higher mortality rates across all ethnic groups.
The analysis shows that the pandemic seemed to travel westwards and northwards across Wales from England, and the extra time to prepare and lockdown could be one reason why there were proportionally fewer deaths.
The report also highlights how the Test, Trace, Protect programme and sensitive early warning systems will play a key role in tackling potential further peaks within the community. It also calls for continued focus on identifying and protecting the most vulnerable people in society.
Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething said:
“This is the first report of its kind here in Wales, which will help us better understand what factors including ethnicity, age and gender increased peoples risk to this terrible virus. It is important to remember that the figures included in this report, represent people who have tragically lost their lives and my condolences are with their families.
“This review is the first step in learning why some areas within the UK were affected more than others. This report and future analysis will be vital for future planning and will help us learn more about the coronavirus so we can save lives should there be further waves.”