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CMI notes second wave excess deaths significant but a fraction of COVID deaths

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) is publishing frequent UK mortality analysis through its mortality monitor. The latest update covers week 51 of 2020 (12 to 18 December) based on provisional England & Wales deaths data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 30 December 2020.

The key points of this update are:     

  • The number of deaths with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate was 2,986 in week 51, compared to 2,756 in week 50.
  • There were 7% more deaths registered in England & Wales in week 51 than if death rates had been the same as for week 51 of 2019. The corresponding figure for week 50 was 8%.
  • There have been around 71,200 more deaths in the UK from the start of the pandemic to 18 December 2020 than if mortality rates were similar to those experienced in 2019. Of these, 10,400 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 10,000 excess deaths in the second wave. However, the corresponding figure for registered deaths with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate is over 25,000. Death rates from other causes have been significantly lower than is typical at this time of year.”

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

  • “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 52 on Wednesday 6 January 2021. This is a day later than the usual Tuesday release, as the ONS data will be released later during the holiday period.