There have been 3,108 non-Covid excess deaths registered in England and Wales in the last four weeks, including 869 in the most recent week, official data show. Taking into account that currently around 35% of ‘Covid deaths’ are registered with a different underlying cause, we also need to add around 1,000 deaths to the non-Covid total, giving over 4,000 non-Covid excess deaths in the last four weeks (4,234 to be exact).
According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Covid deaths have been dropping as the Omicron waves have subsided, but non-Covid deaths have spiked. No explanation has been provided for this, but ambulance services have reported very high demand, including for strokes, said to be at a record high. Ambulance call-outs for cardiac or respiratory arrest are also trending above average.
The worrying mortality trend marks the resumption of the high non-Covid mortality rate seen in the second half of last year, which disappeared over the winter during the Omicron waves. Some of the excess deaths may be a registration backlog from the previous month, where non-Covid deaths were below average; the extent to which that is the case will become clearer over the coming weeks.
The rise in strokes is concerning as they are often caused by blood clots, one of the key safety fears with the Covid vaccines. Cardiac arrests, similarly, are a vaccine safety concern. Lack of access to healthcare during the pandemic is also likely to be playing a role.