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Excess mortality in England and Wales during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Excess mortality in England and Wales during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thumbnail




BACKGROUND: Deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic result directly from infection and exacerbation of other diseases and indirectly from deferment of care for other conditions, and are socially and geographically patterned. We quantified excess mortality in regions of England and Wales during the pandemic, for all causes and for non-COVID-19-associated deaths. METHODS: Weekly mortality data for 1 January 2010 to 1 May 2020 for England and Wales were obtained from the Office of National Statistics. Mean-dispersion negative binomial regressions were used to model death counts based on pre-pandemic trends and exponentiated linear predictions were subtracted from: (i) all-cause deaths and (ii) all-cause deaths minus COVID-19 related deaths for the pandemic period (week starting 7 March, to week ending 8 May). FINDINGS: Between 7 March and 8 May 2020, there were 47 243 (95% CI: 46 671 to 47 815) excess deaths in England and Wales, of which 9948 (95% CI: 9376 to 10 520) were not associated with COVID-19. Overall excess mortality rates varied from 49 per 100 000 (95% CI: 49 to 50) in the South West to 102 per 100 000 (95% CI: 102 to 103) in London. Non-COVID-19 associated excess mortality rates ranged from -1 per 100 000 (95% CI: -1 to 0) in Wales (ie, mortality rates were no higher than expected) to 26 per 100 000 (95% CI: 25 to 26) in the West Midlands. INTERPRETATION: The COVID-19 pandemic has had markedly different impacts on the regions of England and Wales, both for deaths directly attributable to COVID-19 infection and for deaths resulting from the national public health response.

Acceptance Date Oct 2, 2020
Publication Date Oct 15, 2020
Journal Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Print ISSN 0143-005X
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Pages 213 - 223
Publisher URL


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