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CMI’s 2020 excess deaths estimate reaches new high

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) is publishing frequent UK mortality analysis through its mortality monitor. The latest update covers week 46 of 2020 (7 November to 13 November) based on provisional England & Wales deaths data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 24 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 week 37, to 2,466 in week 46.
  • As a result, all-cause mortality is higher than levels observed in 2019.
  • There were 13% more deaths registered in England & Wales in week 46 than if death rates had been the same as for week 46 of 2019. The corresponding increase in week 45 was 9%.
  • There have been around 64,900 more deaths in the UK from the start of the pandemic to 13 November 2020 than if mortality rates were similar to those experienced in 2019.

Cobus Daneel, Chair of the CMI Mortality Projections Committee said: “After the end of the first wave in June we saw lighter mortality experience than during the corresponding weeks of 2019 and our cumulative excess deaths figure slowly trended down. Since the start of the second wave, we have seen that cumulative figure creep back up. It is now higher than our previous peak of 64,600 and is set to rise further in the coming weeks.”

“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.

“Cumulative” excess deaths are the total excess deaths since the start of the pandemic. Cumulative excess deaths fell between early-June and early-October as excess deaths tended to be negative (i.e. actual deaths lower than expected) during that period.

The CMI intends to publish its next mortality monitor for week 47 on 1 December 2020. All mortality monitor weekly updates are publicly available on the mortality monitor page.