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Background Residents in care homes have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We describe trends in risk of mortality among care home residents compared to residents in private homes in England. Methods On behalf of NHS England, we used OpenSAFELY-TPP, an analytics platform running across the linked electronic health records of approximately a third of the English population, to calculate monthly age-standardised risks of death due to all causes and COVID-19 among adults aged >=65 years between 1/2/2019 and 31/03/2021. Care home residents were identified using linkage to the Care and Quality Commission. Findings We included 4,329,078 people aged 65 years or older on the 1st of February 2019, 2.2% of whom were classified as residing in a care or nursing home. Age-standardised mortality risks were approximately 10 times higher among care home residents compared to non-residents in February 2019 residents (CMF = 10.59, 95%CI = 9.51, 11.81 among women, CMF = 10.82, 95%CI = 9.89, 11.84 among men). This increased to more than 17 times in April 2020 (CMF = 17.52, 95%CI = 16.38, 18.74 among women, CMF = 18.12, 95%CI = 17.17 – 19.12 among men) before returning to pre-pandemic levels in June 2020. CMFs did not increase during the second wave, despite a rise in the absolute age-standardised COVID-19 mortality risks. Interpretation The first COVID-19 wave had a disproportionate impact on care home residents in England compared to older private home residents. A degree of immunity, improved protective measures or changes in the underlying frailty of the populations may explain the lack of an increase in the relative mortality risks during the second wave. The care home population should be prioritised for measures aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19. Funding Medical Research Council MR/V015737/1

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