There have been 21,238 excess non-Covid deaths registered in England and Wales in the 25 weeks since April 23rd, according to the latest official data from the Office for National Statistics, released on Tuesday. This is 9% more than expected, based on an average of the previous five years.
In the week ending October 14th, the most recent week for which data are available, 11,699 deaths were registered in England and Wales, which is 1,608 (15.9%) above the five-year average for the week. Of these, 565 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate as a contributory cause and 374 mentioned COVID-19 as underlying cause, leaving 1,234 deaths from a different underlying cause.
The autumn booster campaign in over-50s in England does correlate somewhat with a new rise in excess non-Covid deaths, as shown below. It will be interesting to see how this develops. I discuss potential explanations for the excess deaths and possible connections with the vaccines and virus in my previous post.
Excess non-Covid deaths have remained high since the spring, as shown in the cumulative curve (by registration date) below.
The recent Covid wave peaked in early October and has been declining since, as depicted below.
The rise and fall of waves without restrictions indicates that this is a natural pattern, not one created by interventions.
The shaded areas are the national lockdowns and the red arrows are Christmas. Infections precede prevalence by a several days, so clearly lockdowns were not necessary to cause these waves to peak. Christmas festivities and holidays seem to cause waves to end sharply, perhaps due to an acceleration followed by a holiday period. Deaths follow prevalence by two to three weeks
Pillar 1 screening of hospital patients has given a largely consistent picture since after the first wave (during which it was less reliable as it was still being set up). Pillar 1 data reflect infections in older groups, which is where Covid has any significant health risk (similar to flu). Comparing death rate to Pillar 1 positivity shows how the infection fatality rate fell dramatically with Delta versus Alpha and earlier variants (the blue and green lines are closer together, vaccines and natural immunity may have played a role here), with a further decrease with Omicron.