There have been around 60,000 excess deaths registered in the UK since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in comparison to mortality rates for 2019, analysis by the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) suggests.
The CMI's latest weekly mortality update, based on data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), shows that there could have been between 56,000 and 63,000 excess deaths by 11 May 2020.
It also reveals that there were 58% more deaths registered in England & Wales in week 18 of 2020 than if standardised mortality rates had been the same as the corresponding period for 2019.
The difference was 116% in week 17, and 144% in week 16, although the CMI noted Easter being one week earlier in 2020 than in 2019 may have increased the estimate of excess deaths in week 16.
Cobus Daneel, chair of the CMI Mortality Projections Committee, said: “The latest figures released by the ONS show another decline in ‘excess’ weekly deaths. However, it is likely that the fall in excess deaths will be more gradual over the coming weeks than the earlier rise, as seen in other countries.”
Owned by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, the CMI has been publishing weekly UK mortality analysis through its mortality monitor during the coronavirus crisis.
The latest update shows that the cumulative mortality improvement in England & Wales for 2020 is –8.8% as of 1 May 2020, compared to +0.1% at 20 March 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic had a material impact.
More recent data issued by Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) for later periods suggests that the cumulative improvement will fall further.
The CMI said that its calculations rely on data for registered deaths, and that “we are conscious that in recent weeks deaths may have been registered earlier or later than in previous years”.
“Consequently, comparisons of mortality between 2020 and earlier years may not be on a like-for-like basis. Also, results for individual weeks may not be consistent between years due to the timing of public holidays.”