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Mortality low despite over 10,000 COVID deaths in 2022, 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 8 of 2022 (19 to 25 February), based on provisional England & Wales deaths data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 8 March 2022.

The key points of this update are:     

  • There have been 1,400 fewer deaths than expected in the UK in the first eight weeks of 2022. There were more deaths than expected in the first five weeks, but fewer than expected subsequently.
  • There have been around 119,000 more deaths from all causes than expected in the UK from the start of the pandemic to 25 February 2022.
  • There were 10,225 deaths in the UK with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate in the first eight weeks of 2022. Weekly figures have fallen from the winter peak of 1,673 in week 3 to 878 in week 8.

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

“In the first eight weeks of 2022, the UK has seen over 10,000 registered deaths involving COVID-19. However, overall mortality rates during this period are slightly lower than the pre-COVID rates seen in 2019 and 2020.”

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).

The CMI plans to publish:

  • A weekly “summary” pandemic monitor, without a press release. The next is planned for week 9 of 2022 on Tuesday 15 March 2022.
  • More detailed information quarterly, with a press release. The next is planned for week 13 of 2022 on Tuesday 12 April 2022