We aimed to describe trends of excess mortality in the United Kingdom (UK) stratified by nation and cause of death, and to develop an online tool for reporting the most up to date data on excess mortality
Population statistics agencies in the UK including the Office for National Statistics (ONS), National Records of Scotland (NRS), and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) publish weekly mortality data. We used mortality data up to 22nd May in the ONS and the NISRA and 24th May in the NRS. The main outcome measures were crude mortality for non-COVID deaths (where there is no mention of COVID-19 on the death certificate) calculated, and excess mortality defined as difference between observed mortality and expected average of mortality from previous 5 years.
There were 56,961 excess deaths, of which 8,986 were non-COVID excess deaths. England had the highest number of excess deaths per 100,000 population (85) and Northern Ireland the lowest (34). Non-COVID mortality increased from 23rd March and returned to the 5-year average on 10th May. In Scotland, where underlying cause mortality data besides COVID-related deaths was available, the percentage excess over the 8-week period when COVID-related mortality peaked was: dementia 49%, other causes 21%, circulatory diseases 10%, and cancer 5%. We developed an online tool (TRACKing Excess Deaths - TRACKED) to allow dynamic exploration and visualisation of the latest mortality trends.
Continuous monitoring of excess mortality trends and further integration of age- and gender-stratified and underlying cause of death data beyond COVID-19 will allow dynamic assessment of the impacts of indirect and direct mortality of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Copyright: © 2020 Poon MTC et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Poon, M., Brennan, P., Jin, K., Figueroa, J. & Sudlow, C. 2020, 'Tracking Excess Deaths (TRACKED) – an interactive online tool to monitor excess deaths associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom', Wellcome Open Research, 5, pp. 168-. https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.16058.2