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CMI notes continued fall in weekly excess deaths, particularly at older ages

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) is publishing frequent UK mortality analysis through its mortality monitor. The latest update covers week 7 of 2021 (13 February to 19 February) based on provisional England & Wales deaths data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 2 March 2021.

The key points of this update are:     

  • The number of deaths registered in England & Wales in week 7 of 2021 was 1,595 higher than if mortality rates had been the same as in week 7 of 2019; equivalent to 13% more deaths than expected. The corresponding figures for recent weeks were 47% more deaths than expected in week 5, and 27% more in week 6.
  • There have been around 109,900 more deaths than expected in the UK from the start of the pandemic to 19 February 2021. Of these, 49,200 have occurred in the second wave.
  • The number of deaths with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate was 4,079 in week 7 of 2021, compared to 5,691 in week 6 of 2021.

Cobus Daneel, Chair of the CMI Mortality Projections Committee, said: “The latest data shows that deaths have continued to fall, from around 50% more than expected at the start of this year to 13% more than expected in week 7.

“Excess deaths have fallen fastest for the oldest age group. This is consistent with the impact that we would expect to see from the coronavirus vaccination programme, as older age groups received their vaccine earlier.”

We define “excess” deaths as the difference between actual deaths in a week, and those that we would have expected if mortality rates had been the same as in the corresponding week of 2019.

For the purposes of the mortality monitor, the CMI treats the pandemic as being deaths registered from week 10 onwards (i.e. from 29 February 2020) and the second wave as being registrations from week 38 onwards (i.e. from 12 September 2020).

The CMI intends to publish its next mortality monitor for week 8 of 2021 on Tuesday 9 March 2021. All mortality monitor weekly updates are publicly available on the mortality monitor page.