UK mortality has been above 2019 levels for 22 consecutive weeks, which is the longest continuous period of 'excess' deaths recorded in the country since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That is according to analysis by the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI), which reveals that there were 383 more deaths in England and Wales between 27 November and 3 December (week 48) of this year than during the corresponding week of 2019.
This means that mortality was 3% higher than would normally be expected during the latest week of excess deaths, with 792 COVID-19-related deaths recorded.
Overall, the CMI now estimates that there have been around 116,900 more deaths from all causes than expected in the UK between the start of the pandemic and 3 December 2021, of which 44,000 have occurred this year.
“The latest data shows 22 consecutive weeks of excess mortality in the UK,” confirmed Cobus Daneel, chair of the CMI's Mortality Projections Committee. “Despite its length, this period has had fewer excess deaths than in earlier waves.
“We have seen 19,600 excess deaths over the last 22 weeks, compared to 64,700 over 14 weeks during the first wave, and 50,800 over 21 weeks during 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, based on data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The latest update comes after longevity specialists Club Vita revealed in September that UK life expectancy at birth has fallen by more than 10 weeks since 2017.
Its findings were based on the first ONS national life tables to include data from during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Steven Baxter, head of innovation and development at Club Vita, said: “The inclusion of 2020 data will take account of the large number of COVID-19-related deaths, but won’t consider any 'bounce-back' to lower mortality levels that may be around the corner.
“We will need to keep a close eye on the emerging 2021 and 2022 data to see whether it will be a similar story following our generation’s one in 100-year global pandemic.”
Image credit: iStock
Author: Chris Seekings