‘Excess’ deaths in England and Wales rise to highest level since February

Mortality rate is 14 per cent above five-year average, official figures show

“Excess” deaths in England and Wales have reached their highest level since February, official figures show.

The Office for National Statistics calculated “excess” deaths – the disparity between the expected and observed mortality values – by examining the corresponding mortality rate during 2015-19.

A total of 10,372 deaths were registered in England and Wales in the week ending August 13. The study found there were 1,270 extra deaths in this period, a figure 14 per cent above the five-year average.

So-called excess deaths have not been this high since the week ending February 19, when 2,182 extra deaths were registered, 18.8 per cent above the five-year average.

Separately on Tuesday, the UK reported 174 Covid-19 deaths and 30,838 new infections.

Fatalities in the past seven days were up by 9 per cent on the week before, and cases were up 13.5 per cent.

The toll reported on a Tuesday is often higher than usual because of a lag in reporting deaths that occur at the weekend.

Authorities believe the recent rise in mortality is partially explained by the high number of coronavirus-related deaths. Britain is battling an elevated number of cases, with more than 230,000 infections in the past week alone.

Covid-19 was mentioned on 571 death certificates in England and Wales in the week ending August 13.

This was up 8 per cent on the previous week and is the highest total since 719 deaths were recorded in the week ending March 26.

But Covid-19 deaths do not account for the majority of excess deaths, suggesting there are still many more people than normal dying of other causes.

Previous data shows the number of people dying at home has remained high throughout the pandemic, a trend that has continued into the second half of 2021. The total figure of home deaths in England and Wales since the start of the pandemic now stands at 66,941.

Of this number, 8,152, or 12 per cent, involved Covid-19.

Vaccinations in England are estimated to have prevented between 91,700 and 98,700 deaths, Public Health England said.

Covid-19 was cited on 156,958 death certificates in the UK overall, the ONS said.

The highest number on a single day was 1,484, on January 19.

During the first wave of the virus, the daily toll peaked at 1,461 on April 8, 2020.

Updated: August 24th 2021, 3:49 PM