England and Wales registered 51% more deaths between 19 December and 25 December 2020 (week 52) than over the corresponding week in 2019, the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) has revealed.
However, the CMI highlighted how the death toll was inflated by there only being one bank holiday over the seven-day period – during which register offices close – compared to two holidays in week 52 of 2019.
It's latest mortality update also shows that the number of deaths with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate was 2,912 in week 52, compared to 2,986 in week 51. However, the week 52 figure is relatively low due to the closed register offices.
Overall, the CMI estimates that there have been 75,000 more deaths in the UK between the start of the pandemic and 25 December 2020 than over the corresponding period for 2019. Of these, 14,200 have occurred in the second wave.
“Excess deaths are inflated for week 52 of 2020, because it only had one bank holiday, while week 52 of 2019 had two,” said Cobus Daneel, chair of the CMI Mortality Projections Committee. “All indications are that we would have seen excess deaths in week 52 even with a consistent pattern of bank holidays.”
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.
It estimates that the cumulative mortality improvement in England and Wales for last year was -13% on 25 December, compared to +0.1% on 20 March.
This comes after it revealed last month that it would place no weight on 2020 data when it releases its next model for projecting UK mortality rates due to the impact of COVID-19.
The CMI intends to publish its next mortality monitor for week 53 of 2020 on Tuesday 12 January 2021, alongside its year-end quarterly monitor.
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Author: Chris Seekings