Coronavirus: England highest level of excess deaths

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England had the highest levels of excess deaths in Europe between the end of February and the middle of June, official analysis shows.

The Office for National Statistics says England saw the second highest peak rates of death in Europe, after Spain.

But England had the longest period where deaths were above average, and so overall had the highest levels.

Areas in Spain and Italy, like Milan and Madrid, were harder hit than cities in the UK

But the ONS analysis shows the epidemic in the UK was more widespread than in other countries, with Scotland seeing the third highest death rate in Europe.

By 23 May, the death rate in England was 7.5% higher than it has been in recent years.

Spain’s increase, 6.7%, was the second highest in the countries studied followed by Scotland’s rise of 5.1%.

Wales and Northern Ireland both also featured in the list of hardest-hit countries.

This analysis adds to previous studies of excess deaths by taking account of the ages of the population in each country.

At its worst, the death rate in Spain was nearly 2.5 times its usual level.

That was worse than in England where the peak number of deaths was about 2.1 times its usual level.

But deaths in Spain returned to normal levels faster, so over the whole year so far, England has seen more deaths compared with previous years.

The analysis also looked at cities and regions within countries.

Madrid, Barcelona and Milan all saw higher peaks in death rates than cities in the UK.

But the ONS said that the epidemic was more widespread in the UK than in other countries.

Seven of the 15 cities that saw the biggest rise in deaths rates were in the UK.

Edward Morgan of the ONS said the wide spread of the virus combined with the relatively slow downward “tail” of the pandemic in the UK were key reasons that England saw ‘the highest overall relative excess mortality out of all the European countries compared”.


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