Generated on 2021-03-15

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 throughout the pandemic 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 week through the pandemic. Excess deaths are estimated by week and in total since 21 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. Please note, some of the figures in this report have been rounded, though the differences displayed are based on unrounded data.

All Persons

Weekly excess deaths by date of registration, South East.‎

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

The trend in total excess deaths by week, in South East, 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 24 April 2020 there were 1,548 excess deaths and this was nearly two times (1.87 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 21 March 2020, by date of registration, South East.

Figure 2: Cumulative deaths since 21 March 2020, by date of registration, South East.

The trend in the total cumulative number of excess deaths in South East since 21 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, South East.

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

Figure 3A for males can be used to compare the cumulative total of excess deaths since 21 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
0-24 383 427 -* −44 1 -
25-49 1,765 1,607 1.10 158 177 >100%+
50-64 5,302 4,303 1.23 999 974 97.5%
65-74 8,398 6,924 1.21 1,474 1,769 >100%+
75-84 14,576 11,869 1.23 2,707 3,554 >100%+
85+ 16,872 13,989 1.21 2,883 4,173 >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