News | Published July 31 2020

ONS: England had highest rate of excess deaths in Europe from February to June

The Office for National Statistics has said that England had the second highest peak death rate in Europe and the highest level of excess deaths of any European country between the end of February and the middle of June.

Although areas of nations such as Spain and Italy suffered more than parts of the UK, England endured the longest period of time where deaths were above average.

The ONS added that the pandemic was more widespread in the UK than was the case in other European nations. Meanwhile, Scotland tallied in with the third highest death rate in Europe.

As of May 23, the death rate in England was 7.5 per cent higher than had been the case in recent years. The death rate in Spain was 6.7 per cent out of the countries studied, with Scotland’s death rate increase of 5.1 per cent just behind.

The latest ONS analysis took the population age of each country included in the study into consideration. At its peak, the Spanish death rate was almost 2.5 times its usual level, which was worse than in England where it was around 2.1 times higher than normal.

The death rate in Spain did return to more normal levels at a faster rate, meaning that over the whole year England has seen more average deaths compared to previous years.

In terms of specific cities and regions, although cities such as Barcelona, Madrid and Milan all had higher peaks of death rates than in the UK, there were seven UK cities in the 15 which showed the largest rise in their rate of death.

Responding to the figures, prime minister Boris Johnson said: "We mourn every loss of life that we've had throughout the coronavirus epidemic."

He added that the country has been successful in driving death rates down and that the nation owed a debt to the families of the deceased to continue doing so.

Urging Brits not to become complacent, he said: "Don't delude ourselves that we are out of the woods or that this is all over, because it isn't all over.

"We've got it at the moment under some measure of control. The numbers of deaths are well, well down.

"But I have to tell you that we're looking at a resurgence of the virus in some other European countries. You can see what's been happening in the United States.

“That's why I make this point that I do - we've done a huge amount. Together we've really reduced the incidence of the virus and we've got the number of deaths down.

"But it can come up again, and we've seen what is happening in other European countries, so what I'm saying to people is don't lose focus, don't lose discipline, continue to observe those guidelines and if you have symptoms, get a test."

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Authored by

Alexander Bridge-Wilkinson
Junior Editor
July 31 2020

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