The number of deaths recorded in England and Wales was 52% higher in the third week of this year than during the same week of 2019, the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) has revealed.
Overall, there were 6,428 more deaths between 16 and 22 January than during the corresponding week of 2019, bringing the total number of 'excess' deaths since the start of the pandemic to around 91,900.
Cobus Daneel, chair of the CMI's Mortality Projections Committee, said: “Excess deaths continue to rise. In week three, death rates were more than 50% higher than we would normally expect to see at this time of year.
“This level of excess deaths was only exceeded during the peak of the first wave of the pandemic.”
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, while those in the second wave are registrations since 12 September 2020.
Of the estimated 91,900 excess deaths recorded in the UK, 31,200 have occurred in the second wave.
The latest update comes after the CMI revealed earlier this month that the annual increase in deaths across England and Wales in 2020 was higher than in any year since the Great Depression.
However, it has said that it will 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 four of 2021 on Tuesday 9 February 2021.
Image credit: iStock
Author: Chris Seekings