The annual increase in deaths across England and Wales in 2020 was higher than in any year since the Great Depression, the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) has revealed.
The CMI's latest mortality update – based on figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – shows that there were 13.4% more deaths last year than during the previous 12 months, which is the highest increase since 1929.
Mortality rates were 7% higher between 19 December 2020 and 1 January 2021 (weeks 52 and 53) than during the corresponding period for 2019. The increase was also 7% in week 51, and 8% in week 50.
The number of deaths with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate increased from 2,912 in week 52, to 3,144 in week 53
Overall, the CMI estimates that there were around 72,900 more deaths in the UK between the start of the pandemic and 1 January 2021, than there were during the same weeks of 2019, of which 12,100 occurred in the second wave.
“The coronavirus pandemic has led to death rates in 2020 being 13% higher than in 2019,” Cobus Daneel, chair of the CMI Mortality Projections Committee. “This is by far the highest annual increase in recent years, and the largest annual increase since 1929.
“While recent excess deaths figures are hard to interpret due to bank holidays, all indications are that we continue to see material excess deaths.”
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.
This week’s monitor contains additional analysis comparing measures of excess deaths that use different benchmarks.
It shows that the widely-used comparison for average deaths in recent years exaggerates excess deaths during the pandemic by nearly 15,000, compared to the CMI method, which allows for a growing and ageing population.
This comes after the CMI 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.
It intends to publish its next mortality monitor for week 1 of 2021 on Tuesday 19 January 2021.
Image credit: iStock
Author: Chris Seekings