The weekly death toll in England and Wales has fallen below 2019 levels for the first time since late March, analysis by the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) has found.
The CMI's latest mortality update, based on figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), shows that there were 3% fewer deaths between 13 June and 19 June (week 25) than during the same period last year.
This reverses the steep rise in 'excess deaths' recorded since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, including 4% increases in both week 24 and week 23.
As a result, the CMI said that it intends to reduce the frequency of its mortality monitoring reports, provided that excess deaths remain within a typical range.
“The latest ONS data shows around 250 fewer deaths than we might expect at this time of year," said Cobus Daneel, chair of the CMI Mortality Projections Committee. “This is the first time since March that excess deaths have turned negative.”
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.
Despite excess deaths turning negative, the latest update shows that there have been around 63,200 more deaths in the UK from the start of the pandemic to 19 June 2020 than if mortality rates were similar to those experienced in 2019.
The cumulative mortality improvement in England & Wales for 2020 was –11.0% at 19 June 2020, compared to +0.1% at 20 March 2020, before coronavirus had a material impact.
“Our calculations rely on data for registered deaths, and we are conscious that in recent weeks deaths may have been registered earlier or later than in previous years,” the CMI said.
“Consequently, comparisons of mortality between 2020 and earlier years may not be on a like-for-like basis.
The CMI's next mortality monitors are due to be published on July 7 (for week 26) and July 21 (for week 28).
Author: Chris Seekings
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