Deaths In England and Wales Now 5% Below the Five-Year Average

The ONS announced today that there were 10,045 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending March 26th. This is 266 fewer than the previous week (which was the lowest since 2014 for that week). In addition, this week’s number is 5% below the five-year average, and marks the third consecutive week of “negative excess deaths”. Here’s the chart from the ONS:

Over the last three weeks of ONS reports, there were 1,800 fewer deaths than you’d expect based on the average of the last five years. (And note that, because the population is ageing, the five-year average slightly understates the expected number of deaths.)

What’s more, the number of deaths registered in the week ending March 26th was below the five-year average in seven out of nine English regions. (Only the East Midlands and West Midlands saw positive excess deaths.) Compared to the five-year average, weekly deaths were 7.5% lower in London, 9.3% lower in the South West, and a remarkable 10.7% lower in the East of England.

As I’ve noted before, there are several possible reasons why the number of deaths is so low at the moment. But whatever the exact reason, or mix of reasons, today’s numbers are surely cause for optimism.

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