63,000 extra deaths and a year off life expectancy: COVID-19 in 2020 in England & Wales

An estimated 62,750 excess deaths resulted in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic in England and Wales, according to demographic experts at the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science - who reveal life expectancy was cut for men and women by -1.3 and -1.0 years respectively.

In a recently-published paper, the Leverhulme team calculate more people died in 2020 by comparing the number of deaths from all causes in 2020 with mortality trends from the past decade. This approach helps understanding the overall mortality impact of the pandemic. Using data on registered deaths in 2020, the team was able to compute life expectancy for that year and compare it with past levels in England and Wales.

Ridhi Kashyap one of the study’s authors says, ‘As the nation reels from the shocking news that the number of deaths in the UK in which COVID-19 is listed on the death certificate has exceeded 100,000, our research provides further understanding of the tragic impact of the pandemic in England and Wales.

Our calculations show almost 63,000 more people died in the first 10 months of the pandemic in England and Wales than would usually be expected to die from any cause between March and December. This reduced life expectancy in 2020.’

The research was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, BMJ Journals  ‘Estimating the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic on mortality, life expectancy and lifespan inequality in England and Wales: a population-level analysis’


Read more on the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science website

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