Monthly mortality analysis, England and Wales: August 2022

Provisional death registration data for England and Wales, broken down by sex, age and country. Includes deaths due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and leading causes of death.

This is the latest release. View previous releases

Contact:
Email Georgia Brett

Release date:
23 September 2022

Next release:
21 October 2022

1. Acknowledgement

In recognition and memory of Danielle Cornish, a valued friend and colleague who worked through the coronavirus pandemic to deliver vital mortality statistics at the Office for National Statistics, and who was the original author of this publication.

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2. Main points

  • In August 2022, there were 44,381 deaths registered in England, 6,245 deaths (16.4%) above the August five-year average (2016 to 2019, and 2021); there were 2,931 deaths registered in Wales, 368 deaths (14.4%) above the August average.
  • The leading cause of death in England and in Wales in August 2022 was dementia and Alzheimer's disease (11.4% of all deaths in England and 11.6% of all deaths in Wales).
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) remained the sixth leading cause of death in August 2022 in England (accounting for 3.3% of all deaths), but fell to the seventh leading cause of death in Wales (3.0% of all deaths), from the sixth leading cause in July 2022.
  • Accounting for the population size and age structure, the age-standardised mortality rate (ASMR) for deaths due to COVID-19 decreased between July and August 2022 in England (from 32.6 to 30.5 deaths per 100,000 people) and Wales (from 36.1 to 29.6 deaths per 100,000 people), but this was not statistically significant.
  • The year-to-date (January to August) ASMR in 2022 in both England (940.6 deaths per 100,000 people) and Wales (1,015.7 deaths per 100,000 people) was significantly lower than most years since our data time series began in 2001.
  • There were three heat-periods in August 2022, which were associated with higher daily death occurrences than other days in August 2022 (24.1% higher for England and 17.3% higher for Wales); this could be because of a combination of factors, not just the increase in heat; more information will be published on 7 October 2022.
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3. Death registrations and the overall mortality rate for August 2022

There were 44,381 deaths registered in England in August 2022, based on provisional data. This was 3,928 more deaths than in August 2021 and 6,245 more deaths (16.4%) than the five-year average (2016 to 2019, and 2021). Compared with the previous five-year average (2015 to 2019), there were 7,571 more deaths (20.6%) in August 2022 in England.

In Wales, the provisional number of deaths registered in August 2022 was 2,931. This was 318 more deaths than in August 2021 and 368 more deaths (14.4%) than the five-year average (2016 to 2019, and 2021) for August. Compared with the previous five-year average (2015 to 2019), there were 436 more deaths (17.5%) in August 2022 in Wales.

The five-year average for 2022 has been provided for 2016 to 2019, and 2021. This moves our five-year average along by a year but does not include the exceptionally high number of deaths seen in 2020. This is so that deaths in 2022 are compared with a five-year average that is up to date (rather than 2015 to 2019) while still being close to representing a usual (non-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic) year. For more information, see Section 7: Calculating excess deaths.

Age-standardised mortality rates (ASMRs) are used for comparisons over time rather than numbers of deaths, because ASMRs account for changes to the population size and age structure.

In England, the highest mortality rate for the month of August within our data time series was in 2001 (1,107.1 deaths per 100,000 people). This was statistically significantly higher than the August ASMR in all other years since the start of the data time series.

Following this, overall mortality rates generally decreased to a low of 749.3 deaths per 100,000 people in August 2020, which was significantly lower than the August ASMR for all prior years, despite the onset of the coronavirus pandemic that year. This could be a mortality displacement effect, where people's deaths were brought forward to earlier in 2020 during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, who would have otherwise died during August.

The August ASMR significantly increased in each of the next two years (851.8 deaths per 100,000 people in August 2021 and 915.7 deaths per 100,000 people in August 2022). This pattern was similar in both males and females (Figure 1).

In Wales, mortality rates for August have generally decreased over time; from a high of 1,144.7 deaths per 100,000 people in August 2001, to 836.3 deaths per 100,000 people in August 2020; this was the lowest ASMR since the start of the data time series in 2001. The ASMR increased in August 2021 (904.3 deaths per 100,000 people), and in August 2022 to 991.0 deaths per 100,000 people. The August 2022 increase was statistically significant compared with the previous year, whereas the 2021 increase was not. This pattern in ASMRs over time was similar in both males and females (Figure 1).

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4. Deaths due to COVID-19 registered in August 2022

The doctor certifying a death can list all causes in the chain of events that led to the death, and pre-existing conditions that may have contributed to the death. Using this information, we determine an underlying cause of death. More information on this process can be found in our User guide to mortality statistics.

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In this bulletin, we use the term "due to COVID-19" when referring only to deaths with an underlying cause of death of COVID-19. We use the term "involving COVID-19" when referring to deaths that had COVID-19 mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, whether as an underlying cause or not.

The first deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19) were registered in England and Wales in March 2020. Since then, COVID-19 was the underlying cause of death in most deaths that involved COVID-19 (85.4% in England, 84.0% in Wales).

The proportion of deaths due to COVID-19 (of all deaths involving COVID-19) decreased between July and August 2022 in England (from 64.1% to 62.4%) and remained similar in Wales (from 60.2% to 60.4%) (Figure 2).

For more information on our definition of COVID-19 deaths, see Section 12: Measuring the data.

Figure 2: The proportion of deaths due to COVID-19, when COVID-19 was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, decreased in England and remained similar in Wales in August 2022 compared with July 2022

Percentage of deaths involving COVID-19 that were due to COVID-19, England and Wales, deaths registered in March 2020 to August 2022

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Notes:
  1. Figures are for deaths registered rather than deaths occurring in each period.
  2. Figures for 2022 are based on provisional mortality data and projected populations.
  3. Figures exclude non-residents.
  4. Deaths "due to COVID-19" include only deaths where COVID-19 was the underlying cause of death, whereas deaths “involving COVID-19” include deaths where COVID-19 was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate. For more information on our definitions of COVID-19 deaths, see the Measuring the data section.
  5. Because of small numbers, the proportions for May 2021 and June 2021 in Wales should be interpreted with caution.
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Of the 44,381 deaths registered in August 2022 in England, 3.3% (1,478 deaths) were due to COVID-19, a smaller proportion than in July 2022 (3.8%). Including all deaths involving COVID-19 (2,369 deaths), this percentage increases to 5.3% of all deaths in England.

In Wales, 3.0% of the 2,931 deaths registered in August 2022 were due to COVID-19 (87 deaths), a smaller proportion than in July 2022 (4.0%). Including all deaths involving COVID-19 (144 deaths), this percentage increases to 4.9% of all deaths in Wales.

Mortality rates for deaths due to COVID-19

When adjusting for the size and age structure of the population, age-standardised mortality rates (ASMRs) for deaths due to COVID-19 in England and Wales for August 2022 showed decreases compared with July 2022, but these were not statistically significant (Figure 3).

The ASMR for deaths due to COVID-19 in England decreased to 30.5 deaths per 100,000 people in August 2022, from 32.6 deaths per 100,000 people in July 2022.

In Wales, the ASMR also decreased, to 29.6 deaths per 100,000 people in August 2022 compared with 36.1 deaths per 100,000 people in July 2022.

These patterns in ASMRs were similar for males and females in England and in Wales.

More information on mortality rates by sex is available in Tables 3a and 3b of our accompanying dataset: Monthly mortality analysis, England and Wales.

More about coronavirus

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5. Leading causes of death

The 10 most common underlying causes of death registered in August 2022, compared with the five-year average for August (2016 to 2019, and 2021), for England and Wales respectively, are shown in Figures 4 and 5. Causes of death are based on our leading causes of death groupings.

In England, dementia and Alzheimer's disease remained the leading cause of death in August 2022 (for the 14th consecutive month), with 103.2 deaths per 100,000 people (5,061 deaths). This was statistically significantly higher (5.7% higher) than the five-year average.

In Wales, the leading cause of death was also dementia and Alzheimer's disease, with 113.9 deaths per 100,000 people (339 deaths). This was the first time in eight months that ischaemic heart diseases was not the leading cause of death in Wales.

In England, coronavirus (COVID-19) remained the sixth leading cause of death in August 2022 (1,478 deaths). In Wales, COVID-19 was the joint-seventh leading cause of death, alongside influenza and pneumonia, in August 2022 (87 deaths), decreasing from the sixth leading cause in July 2022.

In England in August 2022, 2 of the 10 leading causes of death were significantly lower than the five-year average, and 5 of the 10 leading causes were not statistically significantly different than the five-year average. The mortality rate for symptoms, signs, and ill-defined conditions was statistically significantly higher (24.1% higher) than the five-year average in England, for the 14th consecutive month. This leading cause group includes mostly deaths with a code for "old age" but is also used for causes such as "frailty". In addition, deaths due to dementia and Alzheimer's disease were significantly higher (5.7%) than the five-year average for the first time since September 2021.

In Wales in August 2022, cerebrovascular diseases was significantly lower (25.0% lower) than the five-year average, whereas chronic lower respiratory diseases was significantly higher (39.3% higher) than the five-year average.

This is the first time in our data time series (since August 2020) that deaths due to chronic lower respiratory diseases have been significantly higher than average in Wales. This could be for a number of reasons, including the hot weather causing overheating, which can make symptoms worse for people who already have problems with their breathing, or a mortality displacement effect, where deaths due to this cause have generally been below average, and they are now increasing before returning to levels we would usually expect.

Additionally, 7 of the top 10 leading causes were not significantly different from the five-year average, including deaths due to influenza and pneumonia.

This is only the third time that the mortality rate for influenza and pneumonia has not been significantly below the average since October 2020. These deaths have previously been below average possibly due to a mortality displacement effect, where people were dying due to other causes, such as COVID-19, but deaths are now returning to pre-coronavirus pandemic trends.

Leading causes of death registered in the year-to-date

In the first eight months (January to August) of 2022, the leading cause of death in England was dementia and Alzheimer's disease (105.4 deaths per 100,000 people). In Wales, the year-to-date leading cause of death was ischaemic heart diseases (112.3 deaths per 100,000 people).

In England, the year-to-date COVID-19 mortality rate remained the sixth leading cause of death (43.1 deaths per 100,000 people). This was statistically significantly lower than the top five leading causes of death, and significantly higher than all causes ranked lower.

In Wales, deaths due to COVID-19 remained the sixth leading cause of death in the year-to-date (43.6 deaths per 100,000 people). This was significantly lower than the top four leading causes of death, and significantly higher than all leading causes ranked lower.

More information on the 2022 year-to-date leading causes of death is available in Tables 11a and 11b of our accompanying dataset: Monthly mortality analysis, England and Wales. More in-depth analysis of leading causes of death is available in our annual publication, based on finalised mortality data.

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6. Deaths registered in the year-to-date

There were 355,425 deaths registered in England and 23,394 in Wales during the first eight months (January to August) of 2022.

To gain a better idea of year-to-year differences in mortality rates, we calculated year-to-date age-standardised mortality rates (ASMRs) based on deaths registered in January to August of each year from 2001 to 2022 (Figure 6).

For England, the year-to-date ASMR for 2022 (940.6 deaths per 100,000 people) was statistically significantly lower than most years since our data time series started in 2001. This is except for 2019 (917.6 deaths per 100,000 people), which was significantly lower than 2022, and 2014 (934.4 deaths per 100,000 people), which was not significantly different.

For Wales, the year-to-date ASMR for 2022 was 1,015.7 deaths per 100,000 people. This was statistically significantly lower than most years since our data time series began, except for 2014, 2019 and 2021 (997.7, 995.2 and 1,039.4 deaths per 100,000 people respectively), which were not significantly different to 2022.

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7. Calculating excess deaths

This section analyses excess deaths, the difference between the observed deaths within a period compared with the five-year average for the same period. Comparisons in this section are made against both the five-year average for 2022 (2016 to 2019, and 2021) and the pre- coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic five-year average (2015 to 2019). For more information on excess deaths, and keeping our five-year average robust during the pandemic, see our July 2022 edition of this release.

In August 2022, when considering the 2016 to 2019, and 2021 five-year average, excess deaths in England were 6,245 above what we would expect in a "normal" year (Figure 7). This is compared with 7,571 when using the 2015 to 2019 average. The year-to-date (January to August) excess in England, when using the 2016 to 2019, and 2021 five-year average, was 13,896 above what we would expect. This increases to 19,546 deaths above what we would expect when the 2015 to 2019 average is used.

While year-to-date number of deaths are above average, it is important to note that these do not take into account age structure or population size. When we take these into account, 2022 year-to-date deaths are generally lower than all other years since 2001, see Section 6: Deaths registered in the year-to-date.

In Wales in August 2022, there were 368 deaths above what we would expect in a "normal" year, when considering the 2016 to 2019, and 2021 five-year average (Figure 8). This increases to 436 excess deaths when the 2015 to 2019 five-year average is used. The year-to-date excess in Wales, when using the 2016 to 2019, and 2021 five-year average, was 626 deaths above what we would expect. This is compared with 836 deaths above when using the 2015 to 2019 average.

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8. Death occurrences in August 2022 and year-to-date

This section is based on the date a death occurred, rather than the date of registration used in the previous sections, to monitor current mortality trends. Further information can be found in Section 12: Measuring the data.

In England, 35,910 deaths occurred in August 2022 (and were registered by 7 September 2022). This was 2,425 fewer deaths than the five-year average (2016 to 2019, and 2021) for August (6.3% lower). In August 2022, of all deaths that occurred, 1,055 deaths (2.9%) were due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

In Wales, 2,548 deaths occurred in August 2022 (and were registered by 7 September 2022). This was 24 more deaths than the five-year average (1.0% higher). Of all deaths that occurred in August 2022, 72 deaths (2.8%) were due to COVID-19.

Heat-period days

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the Met Office issued heatwave warnings between 9 and 16 August 2022. England and Wales saw extreme heat during this period, up to temperatures in the mid-30 degrees Celsius. The UKHSA (previously Public Health England) defines a heat period in their mortality monitoring reports as either:

  • day(s) on which a Level 3 Heat Health Alert (HHA) is issued, or
  • day(s) when the mean Central England Temperature (CET) is greater than 20 degrees Celsius

In addition, the preceding and subsequent days to those identified using these threshold(s) are also included as part of the heat period. In August 2022, there were three periods that matched this criteria:

  • 1 to 5 August
  • 8 to 17 August
  • 23 to 25 August

Average daily death occurrences during these dates (1,261 deaths for England and 88 deaths for Wales) were higher than the rest of August (1,016 deaths for England and 75 deaths for Wales; a 24.1% and 17.3% excess, respectively).

Average daily death occurrences due to COVID-19 were 53.8% higher in England on heat-period days than non-heat-period days (40 deaths during heat-period days and 26 deaths on other days) and 50.0% higher in Wales (3 deaths on heat-period days and 2 deaths on other days).

These percentages should be interpreted with caution because of the low number of average daily deaths due to COVID-19 during August.

Excess deaths during this period could be because of a combination of factors, not just the increase in heat. Further investigation is required to understand this fully, including more deaths being registered. Further analysis relating to deaths during heat periods will be published on 7 October 2022.

COVID-19

The first death due to COVID-19 occurred on 30 January 2020 in England and 15 March 2020 in Wales. Figures 9 and 10 show the trends in COVID-19 death occurrences from March 2020 onwards for England and Wales, respectively.

Figure 9: In England, the number of daily deaths due to COVID-19 decreased in August 2022

Number of deaths occurring on each day from March 2020 to August 2022, five-year average and range, England

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Notes:
  1. Figures are for deaths occurring on each day rather than deaths registered, registered up to 7 September 2022. Death occurrences will increase as more deaths are registered, particularly for later dates.
  2. Figures for 2022 (including deaths that occurred in previous years but were registered in 2022) are based on provisional mortality data.
  3. Figures exclude non-residents.
  4. "COVID-19" includes only deaths where COVID-19 was the underlying cause.
  5. This chart includes deaths from 1 March 2020. Three deaths due to COVID-19 occurred prior to this in England (one death in January 2020 and two deaths in February 2020), but are not included here.
  6. For deaths occurring in 2020 and 2021, the five-year average consists of deaths occurring between 2015 to 2019, whereas for deaths occurring in 2022 the five-year average consists of deaths occurring between 2016 to 2019, and 2021.
  7. The five-year average for 2022 has been provided for 2016 to 2019, and 2021, because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on deaths occurring in 2020. This provides an up-to-date comparison (rather than 2015 to 2019) of the number of deaths expected per day in a usual (non-coronavirus pandemic) year.
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Figure 10: In Wales, the number of daily deaths due to COVID-19 decreased in August 2022

Number of deaths occurring on each day from March 2020 to August 2022, five-year average and range, Wales

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Notes:
  1. Figures are for deaths occurring on each day rather than deaths registered, registered up to 7 September 2022. Death occurrences will increase as more deaths are registered, particularly for later dates.
  2. Figures for 2022 (including deaths that occurred in previous years but were registered in 2022) are based on provisional mortality data.
  3. Figures exclude non-residents.
  4. “COVID-19 deaths” include only deaths where COVID-19 was the underlying cause.
  5. For deaths occurring in 2020 and 2021 the five-year average consists of deaths occurring between 2015 to 2019, whereas for deaths occurring in 2022 the five-year average consists of deaths occurring between 2016 to 2019, and 2021.
  6. The five-year average for 2022 has been provided for 2016 to 2019, and 2021, because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on deaths occurring in 2020. This provides an up-to-date comparison (rather than 2015 to 2019) of the number of deaths expected per day in a usual (non-coronavirus pandemic) year.
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It is important to note that the number of death occurrences is incomplete because it is likely that more deaths need to be registered. Therefore, comparisons should be treated with caution.

In particular, instances where the number of death occurrences on each day in August was below the range of the last five years are likely to be a result of when the data extract was created. Specifically, deaths that occurred towards the end of the month may not have been registered by the time the data extract was created. We would therefore expect the number of death occurrences to be higher in future releases.

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9. Pre-existing conditions of people whose death was due to COVID-19, deaths registered in April to June 2022

Data on pre-existing conditions of people who died due to coronavirus (COVID-19) in England and Wales between January 2020 and June 2022 can be found in the accompanying dataset: Pre-existing conditions of people who died due to COVID-19. Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2022 analysis is available in our Monthly mortality analysis, England and Wales: June 2022 bulletin. We will publish analysis for Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2022 in our September 2022 edition of this bulletin.

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10. Monthly mortality data

Monthly mortality analysis, England and Wales
Dataset | Released 23 September 2022
Provisional data on death registrations and death occurrences in England and Wales, broken down by sex and age. Includes deaths due to coronavirus (COVID-19) by date of death occurrence, and comparisons of COVID-19 with the leading causes of death.

Deaths due to COVID-19 by English region and Welsh health board
Dataset | Released 23 September 2022
Provisional age-standardised mortality rates for deaths due to COVID-19 by sex, English regions and Welsh health boards.

Deaths involving COVID-19 by month of registration, UK
Dataset | Released 23 September 2022
Provisional age-standardised mortality rates for deaths involving COVID-19 by sex and month of death registration, for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Deaths registered monthly in England and Wales
Dataset | Released 23 September 2022
Number of deaths registered each month by area of usual residence for England and Wales, by region, county, local and unitary authority, and London borough.

Single year of age and average age of death of people whose death was due to or involved COVID-19
Dataset | Released on 23 September 2022
Provisional deaths registration data for single year of age and average age of death (median and mean) of persons whose death involved coronavirus (COVID-19), England and Wales. Includes deaths due to COVID-19 and breakdowns by sex.

Pre-existing conditions of people who died due to COVID-19, England and Wales
Dataset | Released 25 July 2022
Pre-existing conditions of people who died due to COVID-19, broken down by country, broad age group, and place of death occurrence, usual residents of England and Wales.

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11. Glossary

Age-specific mortality rates

Age-specific mortality rates are used to allow comparisons between specified age groups.

Age-standardised mortality rates

Age-standardised mortality rates (ASMRs) are used to allow comparisons between populations that may contain different proportions of people of different ages. The 2013 European Standard Population is used to standardise rates. In this bulletin, we have adjusted the monthly ASMRs to allow for comparisons with annual rates. For more information see Section 12: Measuring the data.

Coronaviruses

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines coronaviruses as "a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)". Between 2001 and 2018, there were 12 deaths in England and Wales due to a coronavirus infection, with a further 13 deaths mentioning the virus as a contributory factor on the death certificate.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 refers to the "coronavirus disease 2019" and is a disease that can affect the lungs and airways. It is caused by a type of coronavirus. Further information about coronavirus (COVID-19) disease is available from the WHO.

Pre-existing condition

A pre-existing condition is defined as any condition that either preceded the disease of interest (for example, COVID-19) in the sequence of events leading to death, or was a contributory factor in the death but not part of the causal sequence.

More information on the pre-existing conditions methodology is available in our accompanying dataset: Pre-existing conditions of people who died due to COVID-19, England and Wales.

Registration delay

Mortality statistics are compiled from information supplied when deaths are certified and registered as part of civil registration, a legal requirement. According to the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953, a death should be registered within five days unless it is referred to a coroner for investigation. Mortality statistics for a given time period can be based on occurrence (death date) or registration (registration date); registration delay is the difference between date of occurrence and date of registration.

Statistical significance

The term "significant" refers to statistically significant changes or differences. Significance has been determined using the 95% confidence intervals, where instances of non-overlapping confidence intervals between estimates indicate the difference is unlikely to have arisen from random fluctuation.

95% confidence intervals

A confidence interval is a measure of the uncertainty around a specific estimate. If a confidence interval is 95%, it is expected that the interval will contain the true value on 95 occasions if repeated 100 times. As intervals around estimates widen, the level of uncertainty about where the true value lies increases. The size of the interval around the estimate is strongly related to the number of deaths, prevalence of health states and the size of the underlying population. At a national level, the overall level of error will be small compared with the error associated with a local area or a specific age and sex breakdown. More information is available on our uncertainty pages.

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12. Measuring the data

This bulletin provides timely surveillance of mortality in England and Wales, based on the best available provisional data, including all-cause mortality and coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths.

Analysis contains deaths registered in August 2022 by age and sex, and also includes deaths that occurred in August 2022 by date of death. Non-residents of England and Wales are excluded. In August 2022, there were 108 deaths of non-residents that were registered in England and Wales.

Data sources

This bulletin is based primarily on death registrations. Analysis by month of death registration is consistent with our weekly death registrations bulletin and allows for a more timely analysis than would be possible using death occurrences. There is a section on death occurrences for surveillance of recent mortality trends. Death occurrences show the number of deaths that occurred within a calendar period and give a better indication of exactly when deaths were at their highest. This allows mortality to be related to other factors such as weather patterns.

A provisional extract of death registrations and death occurrences data is taken on the first working day after the eighth of the month, to allow time for deaths to be registered. For more detail on the data sources used, see our methodology article.

Definition of COVID-19 deaths

We use the term "due to COVID-19" when referring only to deaths with an underlying cause of death of COVID-19. When considering all of the deaths that had COVID-19 mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, whether as an underlying cause or not, we use the term "involving COVID-19". The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) codes used to define COVID-19 are:

  • U07.1: COVID-19, virus identified
  • U07.2: COVID-19, virus not identified
  • U09.9: post-COVID condition, unspecified (this cannot be assigned to the underlying cause of death so is not included in the "deaths due to COVID-19" definition)
  • U10.9: multisystem inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19, unspecified

Our definition of COVID-19 (regardless of whether it was the underlying cause or mentioned elsewhere on the death certificate) includes some cases where the certifying doctor suspected the death involved COVID-19 but was not certain (U07.2). For example, a doctor may have clinically diagnosed COVID-19 based on symptoms but this diagnosis may not have been confirmed with a test, so they may write "suspected COVID-19" on the death certificate. Of the 158,196 deaths due to COVID-19, 4,157 (2.6%) were classified as "suspected" COVID-19. Including all 185,702 deaths involving COVID-19, "suspected" COVID-19 was recorded on 4,791 deaths (2.6%) of all deaths involving COVID-19 in England and Wales (excluding non-residents). For more information on the ICD-10 definition of COVID-19, see our methodology article.

There are several ICD-10 codes not included in our definitions of deaths due to COVID-19 and deaths involving COVID-19. These are:

  • U08.9: personal history of COVID-19, unspecified
  • U11.9: need for immunisation against COVID-19, unspecified
  • U12.9: COVID-19 vaccines causing adverse effects in therapeutic use, unspecified

Tables 12 and 13 of our accompanying dataset: Monthly mortality analysis, England and Wales provide figures of each COVID-19 ICD-10 code registered since March 2020. Our figures usually consist of first registrations only. On occasion, and after further investigation, a death can be re-registered as a different cause of death. For transparency of our statistics, these tables include re-registrations as well as initial registrations; all other figures remain as first registration only.

Monthly mortality rates

To calculate monthly mortality rates that are comparable with annual rates, adjustments must be made to annual population estimates to account for the time period covered. Our methodology article provides more detail on how this is calculated.

Acknowledgement

We would like to thank Layli Semple, Matt Pearce, Sian Crossweller, Heidi Wilson and Paul Brown for their valued contribution to this bulletin.

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13. Strengths and limitations

Provisional data are used

Provisional death registrations and death occurrences data are used in this bulletin. This enables timely analysis to be completed to monitor mortality trends. However, as the data for 2022 are provisional, they are subject to change.

Data coverage, timeliness and registration delays

Mortality data give complete population coverage. They ensure the estimates are of high precision and representative of the underlying population at risk. However, because of registration delays, monthly death occurrence data are always somewhat incomplete. This is especially true for deaths that occurred towards the end of the month.

More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses and how the data were created is available in our Mortality statistics in England and Wales Quality and Methodology Information and our User guide to mortality statistics.

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15. Cite this statistical bulletin

Office for National Statistics (ONS), published 23 September 2022, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Monthly mortality analysis, England and Wales: August 2022

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Georgia Brett
health.data@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 1329 444110