There has now been a sustained decline in the number of excess deaths recorded in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic, analysis by the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) has found.
Based on data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the CMI's latest mortality update shows that there were 17% more deaths between 23 May and 29 May (week 22) of this year than during the corresponding period for 2019.
That is down from the 18% increase recorded in week 21, and well below the 40% rise registered in week 20, with the UK's excess deaths far higher at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
“As anticipated, the latest ONS data shows a continued gradual decline in ‘excess’ weekly deaths,” said Cobus Daneel, chair of the CMI's Mortality Projections Committee.
“During the earlier part of the pandemic there were many excess deaths over and above those recorded as involving COVID-19.
“Last Friday’s ONS publication suggests that a large number of these excess deaths were likely to have involved undiagnosed COVID-19 in the elderly.”
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.
Its latest update shows that the cumulative mortality improvement in England & Wales for 2020 was -10.8% on 29 May 2020, compared to +0.1% on March 2020.
And despite the decline in excess deaths, it shows that there have been around 65,000 more deaths in the UK since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in comparison to mortality rates for the same period last year.
However, professional services firm Aon has urged pension schemes not to overreact to high short-term UK mortality data, saying that there are potential COVID-19 outcomes that could result in higher life expectancy.
“These could include increased spending on health and social care, and a potential hardening of the UK to future pandemics,” said Tim Gordon, head of Demographic Horizons in Aon’s Risk Settlement Group
“On top of this, the socio-economic profile of pension schemes means that their liabilities are typically partially insulated from the variations we see in national mortality statistics.
“Accordingly, it would be premature now to make major changes to best estimate longevity assumptions in either direction. Indeed, it is reasonable for median best estimate assumptions to remain broadly unchanged.”
Author: Chris Seekings
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