The number of excess deaths in England and Wales has risen substantially in recent weeks, amid a surge in flu cases and severe pressure on NHS services. The latest data from the Office for National Statistics show that 2493 excess deaths were registered in the week 17 to 23 December in England and Wales, a large increase from 687 in the week ending 9 December.1
Much of this increase was not driven by covid-19. Excess deaths not related to covid jumped from 362 in the week ending 9 December to 2064 in the week 17-23 December. Excess deaths related to covid increased from 326 to 429 in the same period.
Excess deaths are typically defined as the difference between the observed numbers of deaths in specific time periods and expected numbers of deaths in the same time period, based on previous records.