The number of deaths involving Covid-19 registered in England and Wales has fallen for the second week in a row, with deaths among over-80s at their lowest level for nearly two months.
A total of 817 deaths registered in the week ending November 26 mentioned coronavirus on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This is down 14% on the previous week, and follows a 7% fall a week earlier.
Some 348 deaths were of people aged 80 and over – the lowest number for this age group since the week to October 8.
Deaths have fallen steadily among over-80s in recent weeks, and this trend coincides with the rollout of booster doses of Covid-19 vaccine, which began among the oldest groups at the end of September.
Boosters have been estimated to give more than 90% protection against symptomatic Covid-19 among adults aged 50 and over two weeks after the jab has been given.
Protection was found to be 93.1% for over-50s who had first and second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and 94.0% for those who had Pfizer-BioNTech, according to findings published by the UK Health Security Agency.
Deaths involving Covid-19 continue to be well below levels seen during last winter.
There were 8,433 deaths involving Covid-19 registered in England and Wales in the week to January 29, at the peak of the second wave of the virus.
By contrast, the weekly total has been between 700 and 1,000 for the past few months.
11,467 deaths were registered in England and Wales in the week ending 26 November 2021 (Week 47).
▪636 fewer than the previous week▪1,087 (10.5%) more deaths than the five-year average
— Office for National Statistics (ONS) (@ONS) December 7, 2021
The relatively low number of deaths in the third wave so far, when compared with the second wave of the virus, reflects the success of the rollout of coronavirus vaccines across the country.
Vaccinations in England are estimated to have prevented at least 127,500 deaths, according to research by Cambridge University and the UK Health Security Agency.
There are still more people dying than normal for this time of year, however.
The total number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week to November 26 was 10.5% above the pre-pandemic five-year average, the ONS said – the equivalent of 1,087 more deaths.
It is the 21st week in a row where the ONS has reported extra deaths, or “excess deaths”.
The number of excess deaths in private homes in England and Wales since the start of the pandemic now stands at 79,201, according to analysis by the PA news agency.
Of this number, just 9,180, or 12%, were deaths that involved Covid-19.
Overall, 171,792 deaths have occurred in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, the ONS said.
The highest number on a single day was 1,485 on January 19.
During the first wave of the virus, the daily toll peaked at 1,461 on April 8 2020.