Comment: The grave matter of Covid-19 death statistics

People wearing face masks on Oxford Street London as face coverings become mandatory in shops and supermarkets in England

The country had the longest period of excess deaths during the first half of 2020 and the highest levels, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This chart shows the difference in mortality rates from the average in York from week 1 (ending 3 January 2020) to week 24 (ending 12 June).

England suffered the second highest peak death rate in Europe, after Spain, and is the worst-hit nation in terms of spread after it emerged that Scotland registered third highest death rate in Europe. That is likely an underestimate - overall, the number of deaths in England so far this year is more than 53,000 above the five-year average.

Wales had the fifth highest excess mortality rate compared to 22 other European countries.

Many scientists see excess mortality figures as the most reliable measure of the relative impact of coronavirus.

"What I would say to them (families of the deceased) is that we really owe it to them to continue our work in driving the virus down".

"While none of the four United Kingdom nations had a peak mortality level as high as Spain or the worst-hit local areas of Spain and Italy, excess mortality was geographically widespread throughout the United Kingdom during the pandemic, whereas it was more geographically localised in most countries of Western Europe".

Spain had the highest peak excess mortality at a national level with some areas in northern Italy and central Spain hit with rates as much as 847 per cent more than the average.

During a visit to North Yorkshire, he said: "We mourn every loss of life that we've had throughout the coronavirus epidemic".

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth called the statistics "devastating" and said: 'The government has not handled this crisis well and needs to urgently learn lessons from its mistakes'.

Birmingham had the highest peak rate of any British city at 250 per cent above average on the week ending on April 17.

By the week ending May 29, the cumulative death rate in England was 7.55 percent higher than the average death rate for the same period between 2015 and 2019.



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