Photo/Illutration Health care workers take part in a training program at a center for patients with serious COVID-19 symptoms in Osaka’s Sumiyoshi Ward on Dec. 11. (Pool)

OSAKA—The number of deaths from COVID-19 in Osaka Prefecture in December more than tripled the toll in November and was nearly double the figure for Tokyo.

Osaka Prefecture confirmed 9,413 new infections and 250 deaths from Dec. 1 to Dec. 30. Over the same period, Tokyo reported 17,908 new cases, the most in the nation, but its death toll from the novel coronavirus was 133.

By prefecture, Osaka Prefecture’s death toll was second only to Hokkaido’s 254 in December.

The fatality rate in Osaka Prefecture in the third wave of infections was 1.7 percent as of Dec. 23, up 0.2 percentage points from the rate during the second wave in the summer.

Osaka Prefecture’s increase in deaths may stem from elderly people accounting for a significant ratio of those newly infected, as well as its large number of nursing care facilities, where cluster infections have occurred.

People in their 70s or older accounted for 90 percent of the COVID-19 deaths in December in Osaka Prefecture. Elderly people are at a higher risk of developing serious symptoms once infected with the virus.

Between Nov. 29 and Dec. 24, 1,837 patients in their 60s and 70s accounted for 21.7 percent of all people newly infected. As for those in their 80s or older, the number was 968, or 11.4 percent of the total.

In contrast, the number of patients in their 60s and 70s stood at 1,698 in Tokyo, or 12.3 percent of the total, in December. The number of those in their 80s or older was 784, or 5.7 percent of the total in the capital.