Generated on 2020-11-16

Introduction

Monitoring excess mortality provides understanding of the impact of COVID-19 during the course of the pandemic and beyond. Excess mortality in this report is defined as the number of deaths in 2020 which are above the number expected based on mortality rates in earlier years.

In this report the expected number of deaths is modelled using five years of data from preceding years to estimate the number of deaths we would expect on each day in 2020. Excess deaths are estimated by week and in total since 20 March 2020, based on the date each death was registered rather than when it occurred. Excess deaths are presented by age, sex, Upper Tier Local Authority, ethnic group, level of deprivation, cause of death and place of death.

All Persons

Weekly excess deaths by date of registration, East of England.

Figure 1: Weekly excess deaths by date of registration, East of England.

The trend in total excess deaths by week, in East of England, since week ending 27 March 2020 is shown in Figure 1. Numbers above each of the columns show the total number of excess deaths and how these compare with the expected number based on modelled estimates for 2015 to 2019. For example, in week ending 17 April there were 1,273 excess deaths and this was over two times (2.14 times higher) the expected number of deaths in this week. When fewer deaths than expected occur in a week, the column is coloured grey.

Excess deaths where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate are shown in orange. If the number of deaths is not shown in the orange part of the column, that means the total excess was less than the number of deaths with a mention of COVID-19, indicating fewer deaths from other causes than expected in these weeks.

The number of excess deaths without COVID-19 mentioned on the certificate (shown in the white part of the column) may be due to an increase in deaths from other causes during the period of the pandemic but may also reflect under-reporting of deaths involving COVID-19.

Cumulative deaths since 20 March 2020, by date of registration, East of England.

Figure 2: Cumulative deaths since 20 March 2020, by date of registration, East of England.

The trend in the total cumulative number of excess deaths in East of England since 20 March 2020 is shown in Figure 2.

Age Group Males

Cumulative excess deaths (A) and the ratio of registered deaths to expected deaths (B) by age group, males, East of England.

Figure 3: Cumulative excess deaths (A) and the ratio of registered deaths to expected deaths (B) by age group, males, East of England.

Figure 3A for males can be used to compare the cumulative total of excess deaths since 20 March 2020 between age groups.

Figure 3B compares the cumulative total of excess deaths among males with the number which would have been expected based on the modelled estimates for earlier years. Where the ratio of observed to expected is negative, this is shown in grey. The proportion of the excess where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate is shown in yellow.

Table 1 - Males
Age group (years) Registered deaths Expected deaths Ratio registered / expected Excess deaths COVID-19 deaths COVID-19 deaths as % excess
0-14 89 121 -* −32 1 -
15-44 575 508 -* 67 26 38.6%
45-64 2,500 2,220 1.13 280 311 >100%+
65-74 3,785 3,154 1.20 631 529 83.8%
75-84 6,219 5,448 1.14 771 1,025 >100%+
85+ 7,117 5,976 1.19 1,141 1,181 >100%+

* registered deaths were not significantly different from expected deaths for the time period

+ the total excess was less than the number of deaths with a mention of COVID-19, indicating fewer deaths from other causes than expected



Why ratios are important

Ratios can be useful for comparing between groups when the expected number is very different between groups.

For example, if group A had 5 excess deaths and group B had 10, it could appear that the impact was twice as high in group B. However, if the expected number of deaths was 1 in group A and 5 in group B, and the registered numbers of deaths were 6 and 15 respectively, then the ratios would show that group A experienced 6 times the number of deaths compared to expected, while group B experienced 3 times the number expected. Therefore, the actual relative impact is higher in group A.

The ratios presented in this report are relative to historical trends within each group, and not in relation to another group. For example, in the ethnicity section the ratio for the Asian group is the ratio between deaths in this group registered in 2020 and the estimate of expected deaths in the Asian group based on the preceding 5 years. It is not the ratio between the Asian group and another ethnic group.

Age Group Females

Cumulative excess deaths (A) and the ratio of registered deaths to expected deaths (B) by age group, females, East of England.

Figure 4: Cumulative excess deaths (A) and the ratio of registered deaths to expected deaths (B) by age group, females, East of England.

Figure 4A for females can be used to compare the cumulative total of excess deaths since 20 March 2020 between age groups.

Figure 4B shows the ratio of the observed to the expected deaths by age group among females since 20 March 2020. This chart can be used to compare the relative excess mortality between age groups.

Table 2 - Females
Age group (years) Registered deaths Expected deaths Ratio registered / expected Excess deaths COVID-19 deaths COVID-19 deaths as % excess
0-14 84 94 -* −10 0 -
15-44 317 282 -* 35 18 51.4%
45-64 1,599 1,501 -* 98 178 >100%+
65-74 2,533 2,281 1.11 252 269 >100%+
75-84 5,305 4,620 1.15 685 694 >100%+
85+ 10,181 8,613 1.18 1,568 1,212 77.3%

* registered deaths were not significantly different from expected deaths for the time period

+ the total excess was less than the number of deaths with a mention of COVID-19, indicating fewer deaths from other causes than expected

Ethnic Group Males