Official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed that there are more people dying from the fluthan COVID in England and Wales. The number of registered deaths from COVID have been plummeting rapidly in the last couple of weeks, and is now at the lowest it's ever been since the end of last September.
The ONS found that of the 9,941 deaths that were registered in the week ending on 23 April, only 260 certificates mentioned COVID, and 176 listed it as an underlying cause. Whereas, pneumonia and influenza (flu) was mentioned in 1,203 documents, with 278 listing it as the underlying cause.
Success of vaccination programme
On January 19, 1,477 deaths were recorded in the country—the highest number of deaths till date. Since then, COVID deaths have decreased by a colossal 97%. Experts believe that the reason behind the decline is the success of the vaccination programme. Professor Lawrence Young from Warwick Medical School told MailOnline:
There is no question that the vaccine roll-out is driving down Covid deaths.
What we are seeing is that vaccination is clearly biting now and having a massive impact not only on the level of the disease but also on the spread.
More deaths by flu
He also mentioned that more people are getting exposed to the flu now that the lockdown restrictions are being eased. He explained:
I think [the rise in deaths due to flu] is a consequence of as you ease lockdown restrictions, you are going to see more mixing and more virus spread.
We have all been living in isolation over the winter. Often, what happens with these infections is they travel around through the year in new forms and boost our immunity against them.
But in a year without mixing this hasn't been the case - a load of us have not had colds we would normally get.
As a result, some people are more vulnerable to infections but have not had that boost you get from infection every year may be more at risk.
The week ending on 23 April was the seventh consecutive where the total number of deaths were below the five-year average. Authorities are confident that this pattern will continue in the near future.