England registered the highest excess death rate in Europe for the first six months of 2020, according to a report published Thursday by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The report — which compared “all-cause mortality rates” across Europe with the five-year average — indicated that “while England did not have the highest peak mortality, it did have the longest continuous period of excess mortality of any country compared.”
“We compared what we normally would expect to see in a week based on the previous five-year average with what we’ve actually observed as a result of Covid-19 but also other deaths that might be related to that. And that really shows the tragic impact of Covid-19,” Ben Humberstone, ONS Head of Health Analysis and Life Events, told the BBC Thursday.
“Of the four nations of the UK [England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland], England had the highest peak excess mortality (107.6% in week ending April 17),” the report reads.
“The highest peak excess mortality at national level was in Spain, with some local areas in Northern Italy and Central Spain having excess mortality levels as high as 847.7% of the average,” said ONS demographer Edward Morgan.
He said that while most Western European countries had very localized outbreaks, as seen in the worst-hit areas of Italy and Spain, excess mortality was widespread in the UK.
The province of Bergamo, the hardest hit by coronavirus in Italy, saw excess deaths about 9.5 times higher than expected during the peak of the pandemic.
“The closest UK region would be the London borough of Brent, which is broadly equivalent, which saw rates at about 4.5 times what we’d normally expect to see,” Humberstone told the BBC.
The ONS looked also at major cities and found that “the highest peak excess mortality was in Madrid at 432.7% (week ending March 27) while in the UK, Birmingham had the highest peak excess mortality of any major British city at 249.7%.”