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We have confirmation that our excess mortalities are dying “of” Covid-19.

Having no doubt been besieged by preposition fanatics who consider deaths “with” Covid less death-like than deaths “of” the disease, the Office for National Statistics and the registrars of England & Wales really pulled out all the stops this New Year. They’re now providing data on death certificates mentioning respiratory disease, Covid-19, and flu-or-pneumonia, and those for whom these were the underlying conditions. The terms mean, respectively, that the given disease was a contributing factor to the deceased’s demise or that they wouldn’t have died without it.

Getting this level of detail together in just 11 days is an incredible achievement! Thank you, ONS and all the medics, registrars, coroners and clerks who made it possible. Also, not: integrating it into these charts turned into a mammoth task!

Normal mortality’s down, but deaths are sky-high

This is happening all over the world. It looks like staying in and paying extra attention to hygiene makes people live longer. Sadly, it only has a limited effect on rampant new viruses with spectacular mutation rates. While “other cause” fatalities chug along at a few percent below the five-year average, the coronavirus more than makes up for it.

Excess deaths stand at 101,006

Between the 20th March last year and 29th January just gone, over a hundred thousand people died prematurely in England & Wales. This is actually less than our coronavirus death toll, due to the aforementioned drop in ordinary mortality.

27,079 people died OF Covid in January

Horrible. The month was 41% above average, meaning another FOUR people died with every ten who would have died anyway that month.

1,389 died of flu or pneumonia

It’s a crazy low figure for what turned out to be a very cold January. Millions more people took up their influenza vaccination this winter and, with all the additional infection controls, it seems to have done the trick.

New data in these charts

In the weekly chart above, I’m using the new underlying cause “of” data from the 1st January 2021. The contributing factor “with” numbers are also shown.

Monthly summary

This chart uses the overall numbers for Covid-19, including both underlying-cause and contributing-factor data. I think it gives a clearer overview, but ymmv. Excess deaths are lower in this chart because it covers a longer period, going back to December 2019. Deaths were below average in January & February 2020, so our excess was negative until the pandemic kicked in.

Average Covid mortality is greater than excess deaths

Over the past five years, England & Wales averaged 9,951 deaths a week. Since mid-March our weekly average has grown to 12,147.

The difference – our average weekly excess deaths – is 2,196. But 2,413 deaths a week have involved Covid-19. Not only has the pandemic caused all our extra deaths, it’s contributed to the deaths of 217 more people per week as well.

Just realised someone might want to know the relative numbers of deaths “involving” and “due to”. Here you go. Important to note that “involving” includes “due to”.

Screenshot of today's ONS report, showing the numbers of deaths "involving" respiratory disease, influenza & pneumonia, and Covid-19, with the corresponding numbers of deaths "due to" those illnesses. It is stressed that the "involving" number includes those "due to".

Stay safe, people!


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