The Covid-19 toll

Elaborate tables, daily updated, purport to show the progress of the Covid-19 pandemic around the world. They have always been confusing, and by March 2020 it was already apparent that they did not give an accurate picture of the problems being faced. They depend on diagnoses; diagnosis has never been an exact science, and from the beginning it has been plain that the majority of serious cases of the disease are associated with other potentially lethal conditions. It seems that in those countries so badly affected that mortality from Covid-19 could be expected to show up in overall counts of deaths, there was generally significant underestimation of its effects, at least to begin with.

In the UK, the Office of National Statistics has for some years been providing numbers of deaths registered each week, in two tables, one divided by sex and age of the deceased, and one divided by region. It is therefore possible to compare the 2020 figures with those of previous years. Below I give the 2020 figures so far available, together with the ratios of these to the averages over 2015-2019. At the bottom I give the overall "excess deaths", the differences between the totals recorded in each week and the corresponding averages of previous years, and the "Covid reported deaths" for the same weeks (for the UK as a whole) as published by the CSSE at Johns Hopkins University.

For comparison with other European countries see the last reference below.


Deaths in England and Wales in 2020, divided by week of registration, sex and age
     compared with averages over previous five years and coronavirus deaths declared for UK

Week ending
        3.1      17.1      31.1      14.2      28.2      13.3      27.3      10.4      24.4       8.5      22.5       5.6      19.6       3.7      17.7

Numbers of deaths in 2020, and ratios of these to average over previous five years
     (ratios left blank if difference not significant)
Males
   <1    30   29   38   28   22   14   29   32   30   31   24   25   27   26   28   24   33   30   16   34   26   22   20   27   29   26   26   31   18   31   27                                                                                                              
   /av                      0.7  0.4                                                              0.6                                               0.6                                                                                                                        
  1-14    8   15   11   14   11   11    8   11   15   10    8    8    5    7    7    7    9    5   13   11   12    8   11    7   10    6    9    5    6    6   12                                                                                                              
   /av                                                                                       0.4                                                                                                                                                                               
 15-44  115  176  207  214  195  174  184  202  203  203  198  185  186  183  201  217  251  213  147  180  222  156  171  174  176  145  166  173  177  170  181                                                                                                              
   /av                                                                             1.2  1.3       0.8       1.2                      0.8                                                                                                                                       
 45-64  665  884  939  820  858  784  767  725  717  744  819  767  764 1157 1315 1401 1434 1183  847  987  906  662  790  772  702  707  725  687  712  763  761                                                                                                              
   /av  0.9       1.1       1.1            0.9                      1.1  1.7  1.8  1.9  1.9  1.6  1.3  1.3  1.2  1.1  1.1  1.1                           1.1  1.1                                                                                                              
 65-74 1112 1270 1161 1145 1120 1049 1060  998 1064 1034 1049 1033 1089 1701 1804 2071 2015 1571 1129 1290 1124  894 1032  977  944  887  932  875  893  873  927                                                                                                              
   /av                                                              1.1  1.7  1.8  2.1  2.0  1.6  1.2  1.3  1.1  1.1  1.1                      0.9                                                                                                                             
 75-84 1879 2096 1966 1770 1746 1588 1596 1672 1580 1663 1652 1655 1793 2873 3246 3735 3621 2760 1979 2293 1822 1541 1663 1522 1503 1367 1465 1370 1356 1347 1344                                                                                                              
   /av       1.0       1.0       0.9  0.9       0.9                 1.2  1.8  2.1  2.3  2.3  1.8  1.4  1.5  1.2  1.2  1.1       1.1       1.1                                                                                                                                  
   85+ 2080 2358 2108 1924 1842 1786 1847 1799 1826 1773 1820 1725 1867 2847 3347 3990 3865 3095 2078 2448 1985 1551 1656 1506 1406 1362 1315 1269 1203 1299 1318                                                                                                              
   /av  1.1  1.1       0.9  0.9  0.9                      1.0  1.1  1.2  1.8  2.0  2.5  2.5  2.0  1.4  1.6  1.3  1.3  1.1  1.1                 0.9  0.9                                                                                                                        

Females
   <1    18   21   31   25   28   16   14   19   19   25   29   19   22   25   10   27   21   18   12   22   25   18   24   17   19   21   21   27   17   18   18                                                                                                              
   /av                                0.6                                     0.5                                                                                                                                                                                              
  1-14    8   11    5    7    4    5    4    7    5   10   14    4    8   14    7    8    3    6    7    8    4    6    5    4    9    5    4    5    4    6    7                                                                                                              
   /av            0.4                                                                   0.4                                                                                                                                                                                    
 15-44   74   99  107  100  113   97  102  119  112  109  113   90   97  105  131  136  153  132   86  107  117   76   96  113   87   74  106   91  100  105  107                                                                                                              
   /av                                                                        1.2  1.2  1.4  1.3                                     0.7                                                                                                                                       
 45-64  536  616  579  536  490  545  521  546  540  508  521  497  537  703  796  893  849  714  523  656  575  461  518  498  504  443  456  421  486  445  448                                                                                                              
   /av                      0.9                                     1.1  1.4  1.6  1.8  1.7  1.5       1.3  1.2  1.1                                                                                                                                                           
 65-74  748  928  852  813  808  760  694  745  729  735  704  747  716 1033 1142 1309 1223 1030  806  898  759  673  759  742  671  681  669  668  653  644  651                                                                                                              
   /av  0.9                           0.9                                1.5  1.6  1.8  1.7  1.5  1.2  1.3  1.1  1.1       1.1                                                                                                                                                 
 75-84 1705 1918 1749 1567 1510 1468 1413 1362 1388 1460 1452 1412 1454 2132 2367 2922 2892 2382 1648 1874 1633 1339 1479 1344 1177 1240 1165 1159 1191 1159 1215                                                                                                              
   /av                 0.9  0.9  0.9  0.9  0.9  0.9                 1.1  1.6  1.7  2.1  2.1  1.8  1.3  1.4  1.3  1.2  1.1  1.1                                                                                                                                                 
   85+ 3275 3636 3237 2890 2865 2687 2709 2603 2587 2587 2614 2479 2577 3581 4115 5611 5628 4814 3366 3765 3078 2417 2485 2273 2102 2015 2081 1909 2007 2025 1930                                                                                                              
   /av            0.9  0.8  0.9  0.9  0.9  0.9  0.9  0.9  0.9  0.9       1.4  1.6  2.2  2.2  2.0  1.5  1.6  1.3  1.3  1.1       1.0  0.9       0.9  1.0  1.0  0.9                                                                                                              

Regions (North East, North West, Yorkshire & Humberside, East Midlands, West Midlands, East, London, South East, South West, Wales)
NE      673  707  647  612  561  564  573  539  572  568  590  522  542  770  849 1155 1103  922  769  845  718  550  576  478  498  485  515  468  445  493  507                                                                                                              
   /av            0.9  0.9  0.9  0.9       0.9                           1.4  1.5  2.2  2.0  1.8  1.5  1.6  1.4  1.2                                0.9                                                                                                                        
NW     1806 1932 1696 1529 1461 1529 1427 1477 1476 1490 1472 1443 1538 2137 2597 3195 3109 2503 1790 1992 1636 1337 1478 1374 1234 1300 1225 1154 1159 1197 1272                                                                                                              
   /av       1.1       0.9  0.9       0.9                           1.2  1.5  1.8  2.3  2.2  1.9  1.4  1.5  1.3  1.1  1.1  1.1       1.1            0.9                                                                                                                        
Y & H  1240 1339 1278 1187 1136 1072 1059 1087 1078 1112 1053 1012  982 1436 1503 1960 2095 1844 1328 1589 1236 1046 1090  980  952  922  875  848  843  817  837                                                                                                              
   /av                           0.9  0.9                                1.4  1.4  2.0  2.1  1.9  1.3  1.7  1.3  1.2  1.1  1.1                 0.9       0.9                                                                                                                   
E Mid  1060 1195 1106 1024 1015  922  976  924  919  930  915  947  922 1246 1452 1632 1711 1418 1094 1283 1041  863  931  967  835  800  827  771  816  798  729                                                                                                              
   /av                           0.9                                1.1  1.4  1.6  1.9  2.0  1.7  1.3  1.5  1.3  1.2  1.1  1.2                                                                                                                                                 
W Mid  1349 1450 1407 1231 1262 1052 1159 1116 1174 1098 1187 1115 1035 1812 2182 2536 2481 1975 1326 1502 1319  970 1172 1096  973  946  949  902  956  964  902                                                                                                              
   /av                 0.9       0.8                 0.9                 1.7  1.9  2.4  2.4  2.0  1.3  1.4  1.3  1.1  1.1  1.1                                                                                                                                                 
East   1162 1573 1457 1410 1286 1259 1172 1167 1115 1149 1211 1043 1182 1717 1984 2466 2299 1982 1321 1543 1397 1095 1131 1048  927  880  922  999  945  951  949                                                                                                              
   /av  0.8  1.1                      0.9  0.9  0.9  0.9            1.1  1.5  1.6  2.2  2.0  2.0  1.2  1.4  1.3  1.2  1.1       0.9  0.9                                                                                                                                       
London 1113 1272 1073 1028 1092  987  967 1032 1085  982  964 1008 1297 2511 2832 3275 2785 1953 1213 1329 1125  841  891  883  896  791  837  803  806  816  773                                                                                                              
   /av  0.9       0.9  0.9       0.9  0.9                 0.9       1.4  2.5  2.9  3.4  2.9  2.2  1.3  1.5  1.3                      0.9       0.9            0.9                                                                                                              
SE     1814 2132 2064 1833 1820 1729 1688 1675 1587 1726 1751 1657 1822 2294 2604 3084 3334 2853 1887 2251 1937 1515 1610 1530 1411 1311 1454 1228 1339 1340 1447                                                                                                              
   /av  0.9            0.9       1.0       0.9  0.9       1.1       1.2  1.4  1.5  2.0  2.1  1.9  1.2  1.4  1.3  1.2  1.1  1.1       0.9       0.9                                                                                                                             
SW     1225 1487 1466 1253 1233 1157 1169 1118 1133 1170 1174 1156 1092 1520 1560 1854 1924 1554 1218 1449 1177 1011 1116 1035  990  979  938  930  953  941  988                                                                                                              
   /av  0.9       1.1            0.9       0.9       0.9                 1.4  1.4  1.7  1.7  1.5  1.2  1.3  1.1  1.1                           0.9                                                                                                                             
Wales   787  939  767  723  727  690  728  679  651  652  675  719  719  920  928 1169 1124  929  692  772  692  587  700  574  617  552  584  572  550  565  531                                                                                                              
   /av       1.1       0.9                           0.9  0.9       1.1  1.3  1.4  1.8  1.7  1.5  1.1  1.2  1.1       1.2                                                                                                                                                      

Total
      122531405712990118531161210984109481084010815108921101710646111421638718516223512199717953126571457312288 982410709 9976 9339 8979 9140 8690 8823 8891 8946                                                                                                              
   /av                 0.9  1.0  0.9  0.9  0.9  1.0  0.9            1.1  1.6  1.8  2.1  2.1  1.8  1.3  1.4  1.2  1.2  1.1  1.1       1.0       0.9  1.0                                                                                                                        

Excess of English and Welsh deaths in 2020
         55  236 -222 -906 -589 -936 -677 -703 -364 -596 -186   80 1021 6084 79991186211541 8020 3085 4385 2351 1652  735  560  -63 -313  -43 -559 -268 -160  -86
UK Covid-19 deaths declared
          0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0    1    9  184  968 3300 6306 6124 5915 4721 3737 2763 2423 2214 1682 1234  987  846  717  519  583  444  442  392

References:
https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/weeklyprovisionalfiguresondeathsregisteredinenglandandwales
https://github.com/CSSEGISandData/COVID-19/blob/master/csse_covid_19_data/csse_covid_19_time_series/time_series_covid19_deaths_global.csv
See also
https://www.euromomo.eu/graphs-and-maps/
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm
https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/comparisonsofallcausemortalitybetweeneuropeancountriesandregions/januarytojune2020

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11.8.20