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Covid-19 Deaths by Local Authority in England and Wales

Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication

Covid-19 Deaths by Local Authority in England and Wales

  • The data can be shown either by week of registration, or week of occurrence.
    • Registrations relate to when the death was officially recorded. These are subject to varying amounts of time-lag, caused by weekends, bank holidays and bureaucratic processes. Once published, these numbers do not change.
    • Occurrences relate to when the deaths actually happened. Numbers for recent weeks will change as more deaths get added.
  • The final week ends on the previous Friday but one: eg data released on June 9th covered registrations and occurrences up to Week 22, ending May 29th: occurrences include those registered up to three days before the release, eg June 6th for the release on June 9th.
  • In a declining epidemic, ‘Week of Occurrence’ tends to produce lower numbers of all-cause deaths, and hence fewer excess deaths, than ‘Week of Registration’. This is because (a) Registrations reflect the number of deaths occurring further back in the 'spike', (b) further deaths will be added to the Occurrence data.

  • It is impossible to use these figures to estimate how many deaths might have occurred if different policies had been adopted, eg either earlier or no lockdown.
  • This interactive graph was written by Harry Giles in collaboration with David Spiegelhalter. Please note that while we will try and answer technical queries regarding the methods, we cannot discuss events in specific Local Authorities.

WARNING: The numbers in the summary table can be extremely sensitive to start/stop dates, the baseline chosen, and whether looking at Registrations or Occurrences. Have a play around with the app to develop your understanding of this relationship.

Once the app appears, please allow a few seconds for the app to load its data and render its display. Once the charts have appeared, you can access the number associated with each bar by mousing over the bar and allowing the cursor to dwell briefly.

Two options for a 'baseline' are provided, both based on 'five-year' average data for each week and place of death in England and Wales: note this is by week of occurrence.

  1. Five-year average (default): National five-year average data for each week of occurrence and place, scaled in proportion to the total number of deaths in each place in that LA in the first 10 weeks of the year. This is not a five-year average for that specific LA. Since the observed national deaths for weeks 1-10 are below the 5-year average, the observed counts in each LA are generally below the baseline, right back to the start of the year.
  2. 'Adjusted five-year average': National five-year average data for each week and place, scaled down by a factor (0.9) to fit the observed total number of deaths nationally over the first 10 weeks of the year. This can be thought of as an 'expected' trend, given what was observed in the first 10 weeks of the year, and assuming the trend over time follows the five-year average. This baseline will produce larger excess deaths than the first method using unadjusted five-year average deaths.
  • There is no 'correct' baseline for calculating excess deaths, which are essentially constructed rather than counted. For example, the Institute and Faculty of actuaries Mortality Monitor uses 2019 as a 'non-epidemic' year baseline from which to calculate excess deaths using registration data, which closely follows our 'adjusted' five year average.