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CMI notes excess weekly deaths remain high but stable

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) is publishing frequent UK mortality analysis through its mortality monitor. The latest update covers week 49 of 2020 (28 November to 4 December) based on provisional England & Wales deaths data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 15 December 2020.

The key points of this update are:     

  • The number of deaths with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate had risen from under 100 in week 37, to 3,040 in week 48. The week 49 figure is 2,835, the first fall during the second wave.
  • There were 12% more deaths registered in England & Wales in week 49 than if death rates had been the same as for week 49 of 2019. The corresponding figures were 12% in week 48 and 13% in weeks 46 and 47.
  • There have been around 69,500 more deaths in the UK from the start of the pandemic to 4 December 2020 than if mortality rates were similar to those experienced in 2019.

Cobus Daneel, Chair of the CMI Mortality Projections Committee said: “The number of deaths with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate has fallen for the first time since early September. However, excess deaths remain fairly stable at around 1,500 per week.”

“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.

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

All mortality monitor weekly updates are publicly available on the mortality monitor page. The CMI intends to publish its next mortality monitor for week 50 on 22 December 2020.