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CMI says mortality remains low for the time of year

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) is publishing frequent UK mortality analysis through its mortality monitor. The latest update covers week 21 of 2021 (22 May to 28 May) based on provisional England & Wales deaths data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 8 June 2021.

The key points of this update are:     

  • The number of deaths registered in England & Wales in week 21 of 2021 was 992 lower than if mortality rates had been the same as in week 21 of 2019; equivalent to 9% fewer deaths than expected. Over the four weeks from week 18 to week 21, there have been on average 11% fewer deaths than expected.
  • There have been around 100,600 more deaths from all causes than expected in the UK from the start of the pandemic to 28 May 2021. Of these, 27,700 have occurred in 2021.
  • The number of deaths with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate was 95 in week 21 of 2021, compared to 107 in week 20 of 2021.

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

“Deaths from causes other than COVID-19 were significantly below normal levels for April and May. And with COVID-19 deaths having fallen by nearly 99% since the peak in January, we are seeing all-cause mortality rates at historically low levels for the time of year.”

We define “excess” deaths as the difference between actual deaths in a week, and those that we would have expected if mortality rates had been the same as in the corresponding week of 2019. We use 2019 as the most recent “normal” year of mortality observed, as mortality in the first 12 weeks of 2019 and 2020 were similar.

The total excess deaths figures shown above since the start of the pandemic (100,600) and the start of 2021 (27,700) have fallen from peaks of 111,200 and 38,200 respectively, at week 9 of 2021. This is due to there being fewer deaths than expected in most subsequent weeks.

For the purposes of the mortality monitor, the CMI treats the pandemic as being deaths registered from week 10 of 2020 onwards (i.e. from 29 February 2020).

Now that excess deaths are relatively low, the CMI will publish two types of pandemic mortality monitor:

  • A weekly “summary” without a press release. The next is planned for week 22 of 2021 on Tuesday 15 June 2021.
  • A more detailed version, with a press release, every four or five weeks. The next is planned for week 26 of 2021 on Tuesday 13 July 2021.

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

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