THE number of young people who are dying of Covid is “striking”, an expert says.
It comes as data shows Northerners are also more at being killed by the virus than Southerners.
Since coronavirus emerged, it has been known as a disease that primarily kills the elderly.
But since early June, 18 per cent of death certificates mentioning Covid-19 have been from under-60s, statistics show.
This is compared to seven per cent in the first two waves, in spring 2020 and winter 2020/2021.
The shift in trend is due to vaccinations, which have successfully slashed deaths occurring in the older generations.
With more than 90 per cent of the elderly double jabbed, it means young people – who are still being urged to get vaccinated – take up a bigger proportion of total deaths.
Prof Sheila Bird, Former Programme Leader, MRC Biostatistics Unit, University of Cambridge, analysed deaths registered by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) this week.
She said: “Due largely to vaccination and variant, the age distribution is strikingly younger for the 3,926 Covid-mention deaths in England and Wales thus far in wave 3 versus Covid-mention deaths which occurred earlier in the pandemic.”
Looking at people under 40 years old, Prof Bird’s analysis shows they accounted for 3.2 per cent of Covid deaths (126) since June 4.
This compared to 0.7 per cent (925) of all deaths prior to June.
Meanwhile, deaths in those over 80 have come down from 59.6 per cent to 44.1 per cent.
But over 80s still account for the most deaths of all age brackets, followed by those in their 70s at 22 per cent.
Prof Kevin McConway, Emeritus Professor of Applied Statistics, The Open University, said: “It’s not surprising that the people who, sadly, do die of reasons involving Covid-19, are on average younger than they were during the pandemic peak at the start of 2021.”
He said vaccinations, changes in working patterns and the removal of lockdowns were just some of the reasons for the changing tide.
“For the UK as a whole, in the most recent week, 1 in 23 of the death registrations mentioning Covid-19 were of someone aged under 45,” Prof McConway said.
“Back in January and February this year, the corresponding figure was about 1 in 85.”
The ONS figures this week showed deaths are at the highest they have been for five months.
A total of 668 people died in the week to August 27 that had Covid on their certificate.
Deaths had dipped as low as 84 in the week to June 11.
It came as Government statistics, which count deaths with a different method, also showed a six-month high or 209 fatalities in one day.
But despite the drastic increase in three months, it would have been significantly worse if there were no vaccines.
Vaccinations in England are estimated to have directly averted 105,900 deaths, according to latest research by Cambridge University and Public Health England.
And more doses are set to be dolled out, as boosters for over-50s and jabs for 12-15 year olds could be green-lighted in the “next few days”, Sajid Javid has said.
The Health Secretary insisted he expects to receive decisions on pressing ahead with both new phases of the rollout imminently.
Northerners are more likely to die from Covid
Meanwhile, academics say Northerners have bore the brunt of the Covid pandemic, seeing more deaths, more lockdowns and lower wages.
People living in the North had a 17 per cent higher Covid mortality rate than in the rest of England, and a 14 per cent higher overall mortality due to all causes.
Care home mortality was 26 per cent higher.
On average people living in the North had 41 more days of the harshest lockdown restrictions, and the unemployment rate was 19 per cent higher.
Researchers said the economic impact of Covid is also likely to hit the North harder.
Dr Luke Munford, a lecturer in health economics at Manchester University, said: “The fact that over half of the increased Covid-19 mortality and two-thirds of all-cause mortality was potentially preventable should be a real wake-up call.
“We need to invest in the health of people living in the North to ensure they are able to recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic.”