On Tuesday the ONS announced that there were 9,628 deaths in England and Wales in the week ending 28th May 2021. This is 232 fewer than the previous week, and 3.1% below the five-year average. Here’s the chart from the ONS:
Deaths in England and Wales have now been below the five-year average for 11 of the past 12 weeks. Over that time, there were 8,212 fewer deaths than you’d expect based on the average of the last five years. And note that, due to population ageing, the five-year average understates the expected number of deaths. So the true level of “negative excess mortality” is even higher.
The number of deaths registered in the week ending May 28th was below the five-year average in seven out of nine English regions. (Only the North East and North West saw positive excess deaths.) Compared to the five-year average, weekly deaths were 7.5% lower in the East of England, and 8.1% lower in the South West.
As I’ve noted before, the most likely explanation for persistent “negative excess mortality” in England and Wales is that deaths were “brought forward” by the pandemic.
Given these figures, and the fact that around 80% of adults now have COVID antibodies, it is difficult to see what possible grounds there could be to delay the full reopening. Indeed, the costs of remaining lockdown measures must be so vastly disproportionate to the benefits that the Government’s dithering – as Daniel Hannan has noted – is surely a function of status-quo bias.