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CMI notes over 70,000 excess deaths in 2020

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) is publishing frequent UK mortality analysis through its mortality monitor. The latest update covers week 50 of 2020 (5 to 11 December) based on provisional England & Wales deaths data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 22 December 2020.

The key points of this update are:     

  • The number of deaths with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate was 2,756 in week 50, compared to 2,835 in week 49 and 3,040 in week 48.
     
  • There were 8% more deaths registered in England & Wales in week 50 than if death rates had been the same as for week 50 of 2019. The corresponding figures were 12% more in weeks 48 and 49 and 13% more in weeks 46 and 47.
     
  • There have been around 70,300 more deaths in the UK from the start of the pandemic to 11 December 2020 than if mortality rates were similar to those experienced in 2019. Of these, 9,500 have occurred in the second wave.

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

“The CMI’s analysis of ONS data shows that there have been over 70,000 excess deaths since the start of the pandemic. About 10,000 of these have occurred in the second wave.”

“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).

The CMI intends to publish its next mortality monitor for week 51 on Wednesday 30 December 2020. This is a day later than the usual Tuesday release, as the ONS data will be released later during the holiday period. All mortality monitor weekly updates are publicly available on the mortality monitor page.