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CMI notes return of excess mortality due to second wave

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) is publishing frequent UK mortality analysis through its mortality monitor. The latest update covers weeks 42 and 43 of 2020 (10 October to 23 October) based on provisional England & Wales deaths data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 3 November 2020.

The key points of this update are:

  • The number of deaths with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate has continued to increase in recent weeks, from under 100 in each of weeks 36 and 37, to 978 in week 43.
  • As a result, all-cause mortality is now higher than levels observed in 2019
  • There were 6% more deaths registered in England & Wales in week 43 than if death rates had been the same as for the corresponding weeks of 2019. The increase was 2% in week 42. These figures contrast with the previous four weeks, when deaths were slightly lower than expected.
  • There have been around 61,400 more deaths in the UK from the start of the pandemic to 23 October 2020 than if mortality rates were similar to those experienced in 2019.

Cobus Daneel, Chair of the CMI Mortality Projections Committee said: “ONS data shows that mortality is now higher than in the same period in 2019, and is increasing week-on-week. More recent data on cases and hospitalisations suggests that we are likely to see a further significant rise in mortality after the period covered by this report.”

“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 CMI intends to publish its next mortality monitor for week 44 on 10 November 2020.

All mortality monitor weekly updates are publicly available on the mortality monitor page.