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Four months of excess mortality, notes CMI

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) is publishing frequent UK mortality analysis through its mortality monitor. Today’s updates cover week 44 of 2021 (30 October to 5 November), based on provisional England & Wales deaths data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 16 November 2021.

The key points of this update are:     

  • The number of deaths registered in England & Wales in week 44 of 2021 was 1,086 higher than if mortality rates had been the same as in week 44 of 2019; equivalent to 10% more deaths than expected.
  • There have been around 113,500 more deaths from all causes than expected in the UK from the start of the pandemic to 5 November 2021. Of these, 40,600 have occurred in 2021.
  • The number of deaths in England & Wales with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate was 995 in week 44 of 2021.

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

“The latest ONS data shows the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in a week in England & Wales since March 2021. Excess mortality has been at a similar level to COVID-19 deaths for the last four months. This indicates that non-COVID deaths were similar to 2019 – the last pre-pandemic year.”

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.

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), and the third wave as being deaths registered from week 27 of 2021 onwards (i.e. from 3 July 2021).
The CMI publishes three types of mortality monitor:

  • A weekly “summary” pandemic monitor, without a press release. The next is planned for week 45 of 2021 on Tuesday 23 November 2021.
  • A more detailed pandemic monitor, with a press release, every four or five weeks. The next is planned for week 48 of 2021 on Tuesday 14 December 2021.
  • A quarterly monitor, in a format that pre-dates the pandemic. The next is planned for week 52 of 2021 on Tuesday 11 January 2022.