The number of deaths in England and Wales between July and September of 2020 was lower than in any other quarter on record, despite year-to-date mortality being the highest seen since 2008.
The findings from the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) also show that the 215 COVID-19 deaths registered between 19 September and 25 September (week 39) was higher than at any point since July, although still relatively low compared to during the peak of the pandemic.
Considering weeks 37 to 39 together, there were 0.3% more deaths registered in England and Wales than over the corresponding weeks of 2019. In the previous three-week period – weeks 34 to 36 – deaths were 3% lower than expected.
“Despite the September increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalisations, mortality in Q3 2020 remained at a similar level to Q3 2019,” said Cobus Daneel, chair of the CMI Mortality Projections Committee. “We will continue to closely monitor the figures.”
Owned by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, the CMI has been publishing analysis of the UK's mortality rate during the coronavirus crisis through its mortality monitor, which is based on figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Its latest update shows that, at the start of the third quarter, cumulative standardised mortality for 2020 was 7.0% above the 2010-2019 average, but fell to 5.5% above the 10-year average over the following three months.
It also shows that the cumulative mortality improvement for 2020 was -10.9% at the start of the third quarter, and had fallen to -10.4% at the quarter's end.
In total, the CMI estimates that there have been around 60,400 'excess deaths' in the UK since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in comparison to mortality last year, which is a decrease of around 4,000 on a previous estimate.
The CMI intends to publish its next mortality monitor for week 41 on 20 October 2020.
Image credit: iStock
Author: Chris Seekings