MORE than 700 Worcestershire people died than usual in a three month period between March and May during the coronavirus outbreak, new figures show. At the height of the pandemic, in early April, there were more than 100 county residents dying a week than usual. But the figures also reveal how lockdown brought the numbers down dramatically to the point that in the last available week of data, May 22-29, there were at least 17 fewer deaths in the county than the five-year average. The data - known as excess deaths - is one of the best ways of looking at the impact of Covid-19 as it compares the number of people who have died this year, whatever the cause, with the average per week between 2015 and 2019.

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The Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures shows that the peak week of the coronavirus pandemic in our county was April 17-24, when there were 170 extra deaths. April 24-May 1 was the second highest with 151 extra deaths, followed by April 3-10, which was 122.8 up on average. But the effect of the lockdown can be seen in this data as in the week after May 1, up to May 8, there is a drop to only 33.6 extra deaths.

The data shows that in the peak more than 100 extra Worcester people died, the worst weeks being April 24-May 1 (31 extra), April 3-10 (22 extra) and April 17- 25 (18.6 extra).

Similarly more than 100 extra Wychavon deaths took place than normal, the area’s worst weeks being April 17-24 (47.2 extra), April 3-10 (26 extra) and April 24-May 1 (25.4 extra).

In Malvern the worst weeks were March 27-April 3 (27.2 extra), April 17-24 (19.8 extra) and April 3-10 (18.2 extra). Bromsgrove is the county’s worst hit area with more than 130 extra deaths during a six week period between March 27 and May 8. The area’s worst weeks were April 17-24 (42.2 extra), April 10-April 17 (26.8 extra) and April 3-10 (25.2). These deaths are 'all causes.' Some of the extra deaths may yet be registered as Covid-related but experts also say the pandemic can lead to more deaths where fewer people may go seek medical help.