There is a continued gradual decline in the number of excess weekly deaths in England and Wales three months into the Covid-19 lockdown, according to the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI).
The CMI's weekly mortality monitor shows a more positive position at week 22 of 2020 (23-29 May) based on provisional 9 June data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
CMI chair of the mortality projections committee Cobus Daneel said: "As anticipated, the latest ONS data shows a continued gradual decline in excess weekly deaths where in the earlier part of the pandemic, there were many excess deaths over and above those recorded as involving Covid-19."
The mortality monitor projects around 65,000 more deaths across the UK may have occurred from the start of the pandemic to 8 June than if rates were similar to those experienced in 2019.
Daneel added: "Last Friday's (9 June) publication suggests that a large number of these excess deaths were likely to have involved undiagnosed Covid-19 in the elderly."
The latest ONS data comes after longevity analytics specialist firm Club Vita called for better clarity on whether accessing health care provision, or undiagnosed Covid-19, was contributing more to death rates on 5 June.
Partner Steven Baxter said: "There is a very clear pattern of fewer Covid-19 deaths occurring in hospital, with far more deaths occurring at home, or in care homes which suggests the very frail are not making it to hospital, perhaps a consequence of lockdown isolation. Whatever the reason, this will make formal recognition of Covid-19 on the death certificate more challenging."
He continued: "Evidence appears to be accumulating that these unseasonably high deaths are closely related to Covid-19 and should be factored into the headlines of the Covid-19 related loss of life."
However, with some lack of clarity on how mortality rates are calculated, there is also a risk of pension schemes over-reacting when setting their long-term assumptions, Aon has warned today (10 June).
The consultancy's partner and head of demographic horizons Tim Gordon said "critical aspects are still unknown" about how mortality figures may change as the nation passes through the first wave of the pandemic.
"While there are potential outcomes of this crisis that could reduce life expectancy, including the possible impact of economic recession, there are also potential outcomes that could result in higher life expectancy," he said. "These could include increased spending on health and social care and a potential hardening of the UK to future pandemics."
Gordon added it would be "premature" for pension schemes to make major changes to estimate longevity assumptions at the moment.
He said: "The socio-economic profile of pension schemes means that their liabilities are typically partially insulated from the variations we see in national mortality statistics. It is reasonable for median best estimate assumptions to remain broadly unchanged."
The UK began its 13th week in lockdown on 8 June, with the next review for relaxation measures in England expected no later than 25 June.
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