Fewer deaths than might usually be expected at this time of year have been recorded in England and Wales for the fourth consecutive week, according to the Continuous Mortality Index (CMI).
The CMI's Covid-19 mortality monitor update for week 28 (4-10 July) of 2020 was gathered from provisional deaths data published by the Office for National Statistics yesterday (21 July).
There were 7% less deaths registered than if the mortality rate had been the same as week 28 of 2019. The total number of deaths from the start of the pandemic to 10 July if mortality rates were similar to last year is now 61,800. This is a decrease from the 63,500 deaths to 12 June.
The current method of assessing death rates counts all people who have tested positive for coronavirus at any time and since died of any cause. CMI mortality projections committee chair Cobus Daneel said it is therefore likely statistics will have overstated deaths from Covid-19 in recent weeks.
"The secretary of State for health and social care, Matt Hancock, has asked Public Health England to urgently review the way that daily death statistics are reported in England," he said. "For the fourth week running, we see fewer deaths than we might expect at this time of year."
The frequency of the CMI's mortality monitor - which has been published weekly thus far - is now set to reduce as both England and Wales have lockdown restrictions eased.
Both countries began their 19th week of lockdown on 20 July.
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