Life - Articles - Sustained excess mortality during third quarter of 2021

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) is publishing frequent UK mortality analysis through its mortality monitor. The updates cover week 39 of 2021 (25 September to 1 October) and the third quarter of 2021, based on provisional England & Wales deaths data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 12 October 2021.

 The key points of these updates are:

 • The number of deaths registered in England & Wales in week 39 of 2021 was 700 higher than if mortality rates had been the same as in week 39 of 2019; equivalent to 7% more deaths than expected.
 • There is a striking difference in how mortality rates compare to 2020 at different ages – while mortality at older ages is significantly lower in 2021 so far, mortality for under-65s is around 3% higher.
 • There have been around 108,100 more deaths from all causes than expected in the UK from the start of the pandemic to 1 October 2021. Of these, 35,200 have occurred in 2021.
 • The numbers of excess deaths in 2021 have varied significantly by quarter, with 34,300 more than expected in the first quarter, 9,900 fewer than expected in the second quarter, and 10,900 more than expected in the third quarter.
 • There has been a significant increase in the number of UK deaths with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate over the quarter, with 1,045 in week 39 of 2021, compared to 181 in week 26, at the end of the second quarter.

 Cobus Daneel, Chair of the CMI Mortality Projections Committee, said: “Mortality rates in the second quarter of 2021 were at a record low for the time of year. But every week of the third quarter has had mortality rates above pre-pandemic 2019 levels. Despite that, and significant case numbers, total excess deaths during the third wave are currently much lower than during the first two waves.

 Remarkably, while overall mortality rates are lower in 2021 than in 2020, that is not the case for the under-65s, who have seen mortality increase still further this year.”

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

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