Analysis of death registrations not involving coronavirus (COVID-19), England and Wales: 28 December 2019 to 1 May 2020

Between 7 March and 1 May 2020, there were an excess of 46,380 death registrations compared to the 5-year average, 27.8% of which did not involve coronavirus. The largest increases in non-Covid-19 deaths were in those due to dementia and Alzheimer disease (5,404 excess deaths).

SPS commentary:

This analysis explores the possible explanations for non-Covid-19 excess deaths, including:

- COVID-19 may have been present but undiagnosed or not recorded on the death certificate

- a reluctance to seek care or delay in receiving care could cause deaths where someone already had a serious health condition

- reduced hospital capacity could mean some people with other underlying conditions had not received sufficient care

- an increase in stress because of lockdown could be causing more deaths

- an increase in registration efficiency could lead to more deaths being registered


The analysis provides provisional indications on the potential of each explanation to contribute to non-COVID-19 excess deaths; however, a full analysis with additional data sources over an extended time will be required to determine the causes with certainty.


Office for National Statistics