The UK recorded around 80,100 more deaths between the start of the coronavirus pandemic and 8 January 2021 than during the corresponding period 12 months earlier, the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) has revealed.
Its latest mortality update – based on figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for England and Wales – also shows that the number of deaths with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate was 6,057 in the first week of 2021, compared to 3,144 in the final week of 2020.
However, the figure for the first week of this year is likely to include deaths where registrations were delayed from the final seven days of 2020 (week 53) due to bank holidays.
Considering week 53 of 2020 and week one of 2021 together, to reduce the impact of the timing of bank holidays, there were 17% more deaths than expected, compared to 8% more in weeks 50 and 51 of 2020 combined.
“The ONS figures for registered deaths have been challenging to interpret in recent weeks due to the timing of bank holidays,” explained Cobus Daneel, chair of the CMI Mortality Projections Committee.
“With this week’s data, it becomes ever clearer that there are significant and increasing 'excess' weekly deaths, with nearly 20,000 so far in the second wave.”
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 treats deaths during the pandemic as those recorded from 29 February 2020, and those in the second wave as being registrations from 12 September 2020.
The latest update comes after the CMI revealed last week that the annual increase in deaths across England and Wales in 2020 was higher than in any year since the Great Depression.
It said last month that it would place no weight on 2020 data when it releases its next model for projecting UK mortality rates, which is expected in March.
This is due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on death rates, which have been well outside the range of year-on-year changes seen over the past four decades.
While 2020 data will affect actuarial calculations, the CMI said that this is likely to be an outlier, and not indicative of the future path that mortality rates will follow.
“Once the model has been released, users will be able to adjust various model parameters to reflect their views,” Daneel said. “This will allow them to place partial or full weight on the 2020 data if they wish.”
The CMI intends to publish its next mortality monitor for week two of 2021 on Tuesday 26 January 2021.
Image credit: iStock
Author: Chris Seekings