MPs have called for an urgent investigation into Britain’s soaring death rates as thousands more people than usual are dying each week.
Some 17,381 deaths were registered in England and Wales in the seven days to January 13 – 2,837 above average for the time of year.
This is the highest number of excess deaths since 3,429 in the week to February 12, 2021, when the UK was experiencing its second wave of Covid-19 infections and vaccination had only just begun.
On that occasion, deaths involving coronavirus accounted for 37 per cent of all those registered, according to the Office for National Statistics.
More than 650,000 deaths were registered in the UK in 2022 – 9% more than 2019.
This represents one of the largest excess death levels outside the pandemic in 50 years.
Though far below peak pandemic levels, it has prompted questions about why more people are still dying than normal.
Data indicates pandemic effects on health and NHS pressures are among the leading explanations.