The UK has recorded a steady rise in COVID-19-related deaths in recent weeks following the easing of lockdown restrictions, analysis by the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) has found.
Based on data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the CMI's latest update shows that there were 404 COVID-19 deaths in England and Wales in week 30 of this year (24 July to 30 July), compared with 327 in week 29, and under 100 in week 23.
The findings also show that the number of deaths from all causes in week 30 was 592 higher than during the corresponding week of 2019, equivalent to 6% more deaths than expected.
This return of 'excess' deaths comes after mortality levels fell to a record low in the second quarter.
“COVID-19 deaths have risen from under 100 in week 23 to over 400 in week 30,” said Cobus Daneel, chair of the CMI's Mortality Projections Committee.
“This has coincided with all-cause mortality in each of the past four weeks being higher than in the corresponding weeks of 2019, the last full year before the pandemic.
“However, the weakening of the link between cases and deaths as a result of the vaccination programme means that the increase in mortality has not been as high as in the first and second waves 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.
Its latest update covers the second week after almost all lockdown restrictions were scrapped across England.
Overall, the CMI estimates that there were around 98,900 more deaths than expected between the start of the pandemic and 30 July 2021, of which 26,000 occurred this year.
This comes after a report from Lane Clark & Peacock earlier this year forecast life expectancy to shorten by an average of just one month for people at the age of 65, resulting in a £4bn reduction in defined benefit pension schemes' liabilities.
“The pandemic has introduced more uncertainty and trying to understand the long-term impact of COVID-19 is challenging,” said Chris Tavener, author of the report.
“In order for there to be a significant reduction in pension scheme liabilities, we would have to assume that the pandemic will leave an everlasting hangover, with mortality rates higher than previously assumed for many, many years.”
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Author: Chris Seekings