This page contains data and analysis published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) from 27 to 31 July 2020. Go to our live page for the most up-to-date insights on COVID-19.

30 July 2020

European comparison of excess mortality

England saw the second-highest national peak of excess mortality during 2020 in the week ending 17 April, compared with 21 European countries; only Spain saw a higher peak (during week ending 27 March).

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 (week ending 21 February to week ending 12 June 2020).

Comparisons of all-cause mortality between European countries and regions, January to June 2020, uses weekly all-cause death registration data published by Eurostat. Excess mortality is measured using relative age-standardised mortality rates.

In the UK, every region experienced excess mortality during the highest weeks of excess mortality in April 2020, while other Western European countries experienced more localised excess mortality during their peak weeks of excess mortality.

At the regional level, the highest rates of excess mortality were in regions in Central Spain and Northern Italy. Bergamo (Northern Italy) had the highest peak excess mortality (positive 847.7%, week ending 20 March), compared with the highest in the UK, Brent (positive 357.5%, week ending 17 April).

Looking at major cities, the highest peak excess mortality was in Madrid (positive 432.7%, week ending 27 March) while in the UK, Birmingham had the highest peak excess mortality of any major British city (positive 249.7%, week ending 17 April).

Peaks of excess mortality were geographically localised in the countries of Western Europe

Interactive map showing relative age-standardised mortality rates by week and NUTS3 region of Europe

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