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CMI notes deaths below 2019 levels for the fourth successive week

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) is publishing frequent UK mortality analysis through its mortality monitor. This week’s update shows the position as at week 28 of 2020 (4 to 10 July) based on provisional England & Wales deaths data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 21 July 2020. This update includes extra analyses about the age distribution and socio-economic profile of excess deaths.

The key points of these updates are:

  • There were 7% fewer deaths registered in week 28 of 2020 than if death rates had been the same as week 28 of 2019. The equivalent figure for week 27 was 0.5% fewer.
  • There have been around 61,800 more deaths in the UK from the start of the pandemic to 10 July 2020 than if mortality rates were similar to those experienced in 2019. This is a decrease from 63,500 excess deaths to 12 June 2020.

Cobus Daneel, Chair of the CMI Mortality Projections Committee said:

“For the fourth week running, we see fewer deaths than we might expect at this time of year.

“The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, has asked Public Health England (PHE) to urgently review the way that daily death statistics are reported in England. The current method counts all people who have tested positive for coronavirus at any time and since died of any cause, so is likely to have overstated deaths from COVID-19 in recent weeks.

“Excess mortality is a preferable measure as it is not affected by how deaths are classified.”

“Excess” deaths are the difference between actual deaths in 2020, and those that we would expect if mortality rates had been the same as in 2019. The cumulative number of excess deaths as at 10 July is lower than the number as at 12 June because there have been fewer deaths than expected during the past four weeks of data; i.e. excess deaths have been negative in those weeks.

We intend to publish the next mortality monitor on August 4 (for week 30). All mortality monitor weekly updates are publicly available on the mortality monitor page.

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