England records most virus excess deaths in Europe

Clay Curtis
July 31, 2020

A value of 100 per cent indicates mortality rates were 100 per cent higher than - or double - that of the five-year average in a given week.

Excess deaths refers to the difference in the number of deaths compared with the average during that period in previous years.

Although the excess deaths assessment only examined through the end of May, Johnson stressed on Thursday that the pandemic was not over and that Britons shouldn't "delude" themselves into thinking that they are "out of the woods".

A report published by the UK's Office of National Statistics (ONS) on Thursday revealed that although Spain reached the highest peak, it was England that had sustained the largest overall increase in deaths between January and June 2020.

Epidemiologists stated that the excess mortality, deaths from all the causes that exceed the five-year average for the time of year, is the best method of gauging deaths from a disease outbreak as it is internationally comparable.

"While none of the four United Kingdom nations had a peak mortality level as high as Spain or the worst-hit local areas of Spain and Italy, excess mortality was geographically widespread throughout the United Kingdom during the pandemic, whereas it was more geographically localised in most countries of Western Europe".

It also considers the indirect impacts of the pandemic, such as reduced or delayed access to care.

Meanwhile, Spain's National Statistics Institute registered 44,000 excess deaths in first five months of this year compared to 2019.

It found little evidence of abnormal mortality rates in Eastern Europe.

He claimed: "We mourn each individual loss of daily life that we have experienced during the coronavirus epidemic".

While England did not have the highest peak mortality, it did have the longest continuous period of excess mortality of any country compared, resulting in England having the highest levels of excess mortality in Europe for the period as a whole.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacted to the news by saying there had been a "massive success" in reducing deaths.

"What I would say to them (families of the deceased) is that we really owe it to them to continue our work in driving the virus down".

"We've got it at the moment under some measure of control".

England had the second-highest peak, with excess mortality spiking to more than double the average, 107.6%, in mid-April.

In the UK, Birmingham recorded the highest peak of any major British city with an excess mortality rate of 249.7 per cent.

Dr Veena Raleigh, senior fellow at The King's Fund, said: 'Over the past decade, life expectancy improvements in the United Kingdom have lagged behind our European peers.

It was, she said, "essential to tackle the underlying reasons for stalling life expectancy in recent years - many of which contribute to poor Covid-19 outcomes".

We can no longer hide from the fact the Government has not handled this crisis well and needs to urgently learn lessons from its mistakes'.

The London boroughs of Brent, Enfield and Ealing, and Thurrock in Essex, made the list of the 20 worst-affected regions in Europe, which was topped by Bergamo in Italy.

By the end of May, England had seen the highest overall relative excess mortality out of 21 European countries compared by the Office for National Statistics.

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