The proportion of people over 80 who die from Covid in England and Wales has fallen after the launch of the UK vaccine campaign, figures show.
At the height of the first wave, the elderly accounted for 68 percent of all coronavirus deaths. But last month, only 40 percent of people who succumbed to the disease were 80 or older.
Experts say the vaccine rollout is responsible for the turnaround, and SAGE figures show that 95 percent of people over 80 have been fully vaccinated.
But they warned the trend will return to how it was before in the pandemic as the jab drive continues as more younger people are protected from the virus.
This could be compounded by restrictions to be eased next week, with the number of infections expected to rise to more than 100,000 each day.
The third wave started in younger people, slightly skewing death rates, but now infections are also increasing in older people, who are still at greater risk of dying.
It comes after Britain recorded 63 Covid deaths yesterday, the highest daily toll since March.
The link between people who become infected and are hospitalized and die is weakened by the vaccine, but not completely broken.
At the height of the first wave last March, more than two-thirds of Covid deaths in England and Wales were in people over 80. But since the beginning of the year, the proportion of people in that age group who die from the virus has been falling, standing at just 40 percent of deaths in recent weeks.
This chart shows the percentage of people who get Covid and die from the disease by age group. At the start of the pandemic, the risk was about 10 percent (0.10) for those over 75, but only 2 percent (0.02) for 65- to 74-year-olds. The rate has dropped significantly among the elderly since the vaccine rollout began in January, but the risk of that is still higher for those over 65
The number of people dying daily from Covid rose by 63 yesterday, an 80 percent increase from 35 recorded seven days ago and the highest daily increase since March. Despite the increase in deaths, they are still significantly lower than the levels recorded in the first and second wave, when the number of infections was at the same level as it is today.
The latest government figures show that 87.5 per cent of all over 18s in the UK have received a single dose, while 67.1 per cent of the population have been fully vaccinated. In the UK, a total of 46 million first doses have been given, while 35.3 million people have received both doses
The table above shows the risk of dying from Covid after contracting 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 virus. vaccine, second column. The estimates have been calculated by scientists at Cambridge University and are for England only. Overall, for all age groups, one in 90 (1.1 percent) of those who contracted the virus died from the disease in the darkest days of January. By comparison, less than one in 1,000 (0.085 percent) infected people died in June. Of those over 75, only 2.1 percent of those who contracted the virus died in June, compared to 17 percent in January. But for children and teens, the risk of dying from the virus has hardly changed between January (0.0015 percent) and June (0.0011 percent).
SAGE estimates predict that double-shot Britons are up to 91 percent less likely to be hospitalized with the virus and 96 percent less likely to die from Covid.
And separate researchers from the University of Cambridge say the overall death rate for the virus has fallen to one in 1,000 compared to one in 100 during the darkest days of the first wave.
But the death rate among the elderly is still high: 2.2 percent of infected people over 75 are 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 start of the pandemic last March, about half of all Covid deaths were recorded in the over-80s and four in 10 occurred among people in their 70s.
Meanwhile, only one percent of deaths were among people under the age of 40.
But this year, the death rate among people over 80 has fallen to about 50 percent, while the death rate in people aged 40 to 60 has risen.
In the six weeks to July 2, the death rate fell even lower, with people in that age group accounting for 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 this is evident is that the proportion of people dying from Covid is less in older age groups than in previous waves.
‘Currently, older age groups are more likely to have had both doses of vaccination.
‘As the UK vaccination program continues to evolve, a large proportion of UK adults will eventually have had both doses, regardless of their age.
“At this point we can return to a higher proportion of total Covid deaths in older age groups.
“The best thing anyone can do to protect themselves is to get both doses of a Covid vaccine when it’s offered.”
The latest government figures show that 87.5 per cent of all over 18s in the UK have received a single dose, while 67.1 per cent of the population have been fully vaccinated.
In the UK, a total of 46 million first doses have been given, while 35.3 million people have received both doses.
Despite the increase in deaths, they are still significantly lower than the levels recorded in the first and second wave, when the number of infections was at the same level as it is today.
Since the start of the pandemic, 128,593 deaths have been linked to the virus.
Attorney General Lucy Frazer warned today that lockdown restrictions will have to be reintroduced if the third wave reaches “unacceptable levels”.
Meanwhile, Chris Whitty warned in a Science Museum yesterday Britain is ‘not out of the woods yet’ but is in ‘much better shape’ due to the vaccine program and Covid drugs.