Office of National Statistics figures show dementia is main underlying condition for COVID-19 deaths

Alzheimer's Society shares a comment on the new ONS figures that show the number of people with dementia who have died due to COVID-19.

New figures today from the ONS have given full details of the underlying conditions of people dying from Covid-19 in England and Wales:

  • There were 33,841 Covid-19 deaths in March and April in England and Wales.
  • The most common main pre-existing condition for people dying of Covid-19 in England and Wales was dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, with 6,887 deaths (20.4% of total).
  • Taking into account all pre-existing conditions, dementia and Alzheimer’s accounted for 8,577 deaths (25.3%).
  • Separately, in April there were a further 9429 people deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease alone in England and 462 in Wales.
  • Even apart from Covid-19, in April deaths from dementia in England were 80% higher than usual and 50% higher in Wales.

Fiona Carragher, Director of Research and Influencing for Alzheimer’s Society, said:

'These are horrifying figures for anyone with a loved one with dementia, and show for the first time the true toll of coronavirus.

'Dementia is now the main underlying condition for Covid-19 deaths, accounting for one in five of total deaths. And beyond Covid-19, people have been dying from dementia at almost twice the usual rate.'

'Relatives calling our Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Connect support line tell us of their fears for their loved ones with dementia in hospital, in care homes, and in their own homes – cut off from the support they need. Alzheimer’s Society is helping as many people during the pandemic as we can, but we urgently need public donations so we can keep going.

'Right from the start, action to address the challenge has been too slow – and our research this week has found many care homes are still struggling, with over 40% still not confident in their PPE supply. 

'We need an urgent plan from Government to guarantee safety and support in care homes, and Ministers must now look at long term support for people with dementia living at home, and tackle isolation from friends and families.

'People with dementia are dying in unprecedented numbers, the Government must step in right now to prevent further tragedy.'

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