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CMI notes excess deaths starting to fall

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) is publishing frequent UK mortality analysis through its mortality monitor. The latest update covers week 6 of 2021 (6 February to 12 February) based on provisional England & Wales deaths data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 23 February 2021.

The key points of this update are:     

  • The number of deaths registered in England & Wales in week 6 of 2021 was 3,312 higher than if mortality rates had been the same as in week 6 of 2019; equivalent to 27% more deaths than expected. The corresponding figures for recent weeks were 52% more deaths than expected in weeks 3 and 4, and 47% more in week 5.
     
  • There have been around 108,100 more deaths than expected in the UK from the start of the pandemic to 12 February 2021. Of these, 47,400 have occurred in the second wave.
     
  • The number of deaths with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate was 5,691 in week 6 of 2021, compared to 7,320 in week 5 of 2021.

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

“The latest data shows that we are now past the peak of the second wave of the pandemic. After a sustained period in which deaths were around 50% higher than normal for the time of year, we saw a substantial fall in excess deaths in the week to 12 February, to 27% higher than normal.”

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 7 of 2021 on Tuesday 2 March 2021. All mortality monitor weekly updates are publicly available on the mortality monitor page.