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Excess mortality continues to rise, says CMI

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) is publishing frequent UK mortality analysis through its mortality monitor. Today’s update covers week 34 of 2021 (21 to 27 August), based on provisional England & Wales deaths data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 7 September 2021.

The key points of this update are:     

  • The number of deaths registered in England & Wales in week 34 of 2021 was 695 higher than if mortality rates had been the same as in week 34 of 2019; equivalent to 7% more deaths than expected.
     
  • There have been around 101,400 more deaths from all causes than expected in the UK from the start of the pandemic to 27 August 2021. Of these, 28,500 have occurred in 2021.
     
  • The number of deaths in England & Wales with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate was 668 in week 34 of 2021, compared to 570 in week 33 of 2021.

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

“COVID-19 deaths in England & Wales have risen from under 100 in early June to 668 in week 34.

“In recent weeks, excess mortality has been at a similar level to COVID-19 deaths, indicating that non-COVID deaths were in line with 2019 experience. This is in sharp contrast to earlier in the year, when deaths from causes other than COVID were at record lows.”

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

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 (101,400) and the start of 2021 (28,500) 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).

The CMI publishes three types of mortality monitor:
•    A weekly “summary” pandemic monitor, without a press release. The next is planned for week 35 of 2021 on Tuesday 14 Sep 2021.
•    A more detailed pandemic monitor, with a press release, every four or five weeks. The next is planned for week 39 of 2021 on Tuesday 12 October 2021. 
•    A quarterly monitor, in a format that pre-dates the pandemic. The next is planned for week 39 of 2021 on Tuesday 12 October 2021.