There have been 1,400 fewer deaths in the UK over the first eight weeks of this year than there were during the corresponding weeks of 2019, the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) has found.
This is despite 10,225 COVID-19-related deaths recorded this year, according to the CMI's latest update. These have fallen from a winter peak of 1,673 deaths in week three of this year (15 January to 21 January), to 878 in week eight.
Overall, the CMI now estimates that there have been around 119,000 more deaths from all causes than expected in the UK between the start of the pandemic and 25 February 2022.
“In the first eight weeks of 2022, the UK has seen over 10,000 registered deaths involving COVID-19,” said Cobus Daneel, chair of the CMI's Mortality Projections Committee. “However, overall mortality rates during this period are slightly lower than the pre-COVID rates seen in 2019 and 2020.”
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).
Its latest mortality model – which is used by pension schemes and insurers to make assumptions about future mortality rates – produces cohort life expectancies at age 65 that are about two weeks lower, for both males and females, than the model released 12 months ago.
While this will affect actuarial calculations, the CMI said that the last two years are unlikely to be indicative of future trends. For this reason, the core version of the latest model places no weight on the data for 2020 and 2021.
“We have to go back to 1940-41 to find a period as unusual as 2020-2021 relative to the preceding five-year average,” explained Cobus Daneel, chair of the CMI's Mortality Projections Committee. “
“The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has meant that we have placed no weight on 2021 mortality experience. We did the same with the 2020 core model after a consultation process and users from the pensions and insurance industry expressed strong support for this temporary change.
“We encourage users to consider adjusting the model’s parameters to reflect their own portfolios and their views of the impact of the pandemic.”
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Author: Chris Seekings