The number of people dying with coronavirus in England and Wales has fallen for the fourth week in a row, the latest figures reveal.
Some 453 deaths involving COVID-19 were registered across the two nations for the week ending 26 August – an 18% fall on the previous week, Office for National Statistics figures show.
There was a wave of new cases of the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of Omicron this summer, and COVID deaths peaked at 810 for the week ending 8 July. Since then, they have continued to fall.
The summer peak was well below the Alpha peak in January, however, when weekly deaths reached 8,500.
High levels of antibodies, from both natural infection and vaccines, are thought to be behind the fall in the number of deaths.
From Monday, care home residents, staff and people who are housebound are being offered another booster jab.
Excess deaths still above average
In contrast to COVID fatalities, the total number of deaths in England and Wales is above average for the time of year.
The number of “excess deaths” for the week ending 26 August was 1,556 – 16.6% higher than the average.
Deaths from all causes have been above average almost continuously since the end of March, following a period at the start of the year when no excess deaths were recorded.