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Coronavirus: England highest level of excess deaths

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England had the highest levels of excess deaths in Europe between late February and mid-June, the official analysis shows.

The Office of National Statistics says England recorded the second highest death rate in Europe, after Spain.

But England had the longest period when deaths were above average and therefore, in general, the highest levels.

Areas in Spain and Italy, such as Milan and Madrid, were more affected than cities in the UK

But the ONS analysis shows that the epidemic in the UK was more widespread than in other countries, with Scotland having the third highest death rate in Europe.

On May 23, the death rate in England was 7.5% higher than in recent years.

Spain’s increase, 6.7%, was the second highest in the countries studied, followed by Scotland’s 5.1% increase.

Wales and Northern Ireland are also on the list of hardest hit countries.

This analysis contributes to previous studies of excess deaths, taking into account the ages of the population in each country.

In the worst case, the death rate in Spain was almost 2.5 times the usual level.

This was worse than in England, where the maximum number of deaths was about 2.1 times the usual level.

But deaths in Spain returned to normal levels more quickly, so throughout the year, England suffered more deaths compared to previous years.

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    Let’s use the UK as an example. If 2020 had been an average year, the dotted line in the graph below shows how many people we expected to die each week. This is known as expected deaths and is calculated based on the number of deaths in previous years.


    Expected deaths

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    Any deaths higher than expected are known as excess deaths. During the coronavirus pandemic, many countries recorded significantly more deaths than expected this year.


    Total excess of deaths

  • 14,000

    Many of these excess deaths can be explained by the number of people who have been officially confirmed to have Covid-19. But in many places, this does not explain all the excess deaths.


    Deaths by covid-19

  • 14,000

    These other deaths in excess it may have been, directly or indirectly, caused by the coronavirus pandemic.


    Other excess deaths

  • 14,000

    The total number of deaths in excess shows a more complete picture of the human scale of the coronavirus outbreak.


    Total number of deaths from outbreaks

The analysis also looked at cities and regions within countries.

Madrid, Barcelona and Milan recorded higher spikes in mortality rates than in UK cities.

But ONS said the epidemic was more widespread in the UK than in other countries.

Seven of the 15 cities that had the biggest increase in death rates occurred in the United Kingdom.

Edward Morgan of ONS said that the widespread spread of the virus, combined with the relatively slow “tail” of the pandemic in the UK, were the main reasons why England saw “the greatest overall excess of mortality among all European countries” .

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