Coronavirus: Disease Control

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 24 May 2024.

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Photo of Lord Weir of Ballyholme Lord Weir of Ballyholme DUP

To ask His Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of excess deaths that have arisen as a consequence of restrictions and lockdowns arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo of Lord Weir of Ballyholme Lord Weir of Ballyholme DUP

To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to analyse and attribute the level and causes of excess deaths in the UK since 2020, both those caused directly by COVID-19 and those from other sources.

Photo of Lord Markham Lord Markham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Excess deaths are the difference between the number of registered deaths and the number expected based on previous trends. Weekly estimates of excess deaths are published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Its latest data shows that for the years 2020 to 2022, there were an estimated 151,506 estimated excess deaths in England.

It is likely that deaths from COVID-19 were a large driver of excess deaths in the peak pandemic periods. Deaths were above the expected level for most of the second half of 2021, and from March 2022 until the summer of 2023; however, deaths have been below the expected level for most weeks since then.

The drivers of excess deaths are not fully understood, and the excess is likely to be the net effect of many complex and potentially related factors. The attribution of excess deaths to these factors is complex and beyond the scope of the ONS methodology. The UK Health Security Agency has estimated the excess deaths due to acute factors, such as heatwaves, cold snaps, COVID-19 and influenza.

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