Britain’s Covid vaccine drive-out has slashed death rate among over-80s: Elderly now only make up 40% of all victims – down from two-thirds at peak of the pandemic… but experts warn rapid spread of cases will cause trend to U-turn
- At the peak of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, over-80s made up two thirds of Covid deaths
- But this has dropped to just 40 per cent in recent months due to the success of the vaccine rollout
- However, experts warned deaths in older groups will rise as other groups get double jabbed
The proportion of over-80s dying from Covid in England and Wales has plunged following the launch of Britain’s vaccine drive, figures show.
At the peak of the first wave, the elderly made up to 68 per cent of all coronavirus deaths. But last month only 40 per cent of people succumbing to the illness were aged 80 or above.
Experts say the vaccine roll-out is responsible for the turnaround, with SAGE figures showing that 95 per cent of over-80s have been fully immunised.
But they warned the trend will shift back to how it was earlier on in the pandemic as the jab drive continues as more younger people are protected against the virus.
This could be further exacerbated by restrictions easing next week, with infections predicted to skyrocket to over 100,000 every day.
The third wave began in younger people, skewing death figures slightly – but now infections are ticking upwards in older people too, who still face a greater risk of dying.
It comes after Britain yesterday recorded 63 Covid deaths in the highest daily toll since March.
The link between people getting infected and being admitted to hospital and dying has been weakened by the vaccine but not completely severed.
At the peak of the first wave last March, more than two thirds of Covid deaths in England and Wales were among the over-80s. But since the beginning of the year, the proportion of people in the age group dying from the virus has been trending downwards, making up as little as 40 per cent of deaths in recent weeks
This graph shows the proportion of people who catch Covid that are dying from the disease by age group. At the beginning of the pandemic, the risk was around 10 per cent (0.10) for over-75s, but was as low as 2 per cent (0.02) for those aged 65 to 74. The rate has fallen markedly among older people since the vaccine roll-out began in January, but the risk of dath is still higher for over-65s
The number of people dying daily from Covid jumped 63 yesterday, an 80 per cent jump from the 35 recorded seven days ago and the highest daily rise since March. Despite the uptick in deaths, they are still significantly lower than levels recorded in the first and second waves, when infections were at the same level as they are now.
Latest Government figures show 87.5 per cent of all over-18s in the UK have received one dose, while 67.1 per cent of the population are fully immunised. A total of 46million first doses have been administered in the UK, while 35.3million people have received both doses
The above table shows the risk of dying from Covid after catching the disease at the peak of the second wave in January, first column, and now after more than half of all people in Britain have received two doses of the Covid vaccine, second column. The estimates were calculated by Cambridge University scientists and are for England only. Overall for all age groups one in 90 (1.1 per cent) of those who caught the virus died from the disease in the darkest days of January. For comparison, fewer than one in 1,000 (0.085 per cent) of infected individuals were dying in June. Among over-75s only 2.1 per cent of those who caught the virus died from it in June, compared to 17 per cent in January. But for children and teenagers there risk of dying from the virus has barely changed between January (0.0015 per cent) and June (0.0011 per cent)
SAGE estimates predict that double-jabbed Brits are up to 91 per cent less likely to be admitted to hospital with the virus, and 96 per cent less likely to die from Covid.
And separate Cambridge University researchers say the overall death rate for the virus has plunged to one in 1,000 compared to one in 100 during the darkest days of the first wave.
But the death rate is still high among the elderly, with 2.2 per cent of over 75s infected expected to die.
The success of the vaccine rollout is reflected in ONS figures of the number of people who have died from the virus.
At the beginning of the pandemic last March, around half of all Covid deaths were recorded in the over-80s and four in 10 occurred among people in their 70s.
Meanwhile, just one per cent of deaths were among people aged under 40.
But this year, the rate of death recorded in the over-80s dropped to around 50 per cent, while the percentage of deaths recorded in people aged 40 to 60 has increased.
In the six weeks up to July 2, the death rate dropped even lower, with people in that age group making up just four in 10 Covid deaths.
Dr Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, a senior researcher in evidence-based medicine at the University of Oxford told MailOnline: ‘The vaccines have been a huge success in preventing Covid deaths.
‘And one of the many ways in which this is evident is that the proportion of people dying from Covid is less in older age groups than it was in previous waves.
‘Currently, older age groups are more likely to have had both vaccination doses.
‘As the UK’s vaccination programme continues to roll out, eventually a high proportion of British adults will have had both doses, regardless of age.
‘At this point, we may return to seeing a larger proportion of overall Covid deaths in older age groups.
‘The best thing that anyone can do to protect themselves is have both doses of a Covid vaccine when offered.’
Latest Government figures show 87.5 per cent of all over-18s in the UK have received one dose, while 67.1 per cent of the population are fully immunised.
A total of 46million first doses have been administered in the UK, while 35.3million people have received both doses.
Despite the uptick in deaths, they are still significantly lower than levels recorded in the first and second waves, when infections were at the same level as they are now.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 128,593 deaths have been linked with the virus.
Solicitor General Lucy Frazer warned today that lockdown restrictions will need to be reimposed if the third wave hit ‘unacceptable levels’.
Meanwhile, Chris Whitty warned at a Science Museum even yesterday Britain is ‘not out of the woods yet’ but is in ‘much better shape’ due to the vaccine programme and Covid drugs.