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CMI notes deaths remain 50% higher than normal

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) is publishing frequent UK mortality analysis through its mortality monitor. The latest update covers week 4 of 2021 (23 to 29 January) based on provisional England & Wales deaths data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 9 February 2021.

The key points of this update are:     

  • The number of deaths registered in England & Wales in week 4 of 2021 was 6,324 higher than if mortality rates had been the same as in week 4 of 2019; equivalent to 52% more deaths than expected. The corresponding figure for week 3 was also 52% more deaths than expected.
     
  • There have been around 98,700 more deaths than expected in the UK from the start of the pandemic to 29 January 2021. Of these, 37,900 have occurred in the second wave.
     
  • The number of deaths with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate was 8,433 in week 4 of 2021, compared to 8,422 in week 3 of 2021.

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

“Excess deaths remain high. In weeks 3 and 4 of 2021, death rates were more than 50% higher than we would usually expect to see at this time of year, despite deaths from other causes being about 10% lower than normal during the second wave.”

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 5 of 2021 on Tuesday 16 February 2021. All mortality monitor weekly updates are publicly available on the mortality monitor page.