30 Jul Coronavirus: England had highest excess deaths in Europe over first half of 2020, ONS says | UK News
England suffered the highest levels of excess deaths of any country in Europe over the first half of 2020, the Office of National Statistics has said.
But while England had endured the largest overall increase in deaths, the report says Spain had the highest peak.
Scientists have said excess mortality figures are the most reliable measure of the relative impact of COVID-19.
This is because countries record their deaths differently and will not necessarily account for those caused indirectly by the pandemic, such as people who have died due to delayed access to healthcare.
The ONS report said: “While England did not have the highest peak mortality, it did have the longest continuous period of excess mortality of any country compared, resulting in England having the highest levels of excess mortality in Europe for the period as a whole.”
And Edwin Morgan, from the health analysis and life events division at the ONS, said: “Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the first half of 2020 saw extraordinary increases in mortality rates across countries in Western Europe above the 2015 to 2019 average.
“The highest peak excess mortality at national level was in Spain, with some local areas in Northern Italy and Central Spain having excess mortality levels as high as 847.7% of the average.
“While none of the four UK 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 UK during the pandemic, whereas it was more geographically localised in most countries of Western Europe.
“Combined with the relatively slow downward ‘tail’ of the pandemic in the UK, this meant that by the end of May, England had seen the highest overall relative excess mortality out of all the European countries compared.”