Parts of the South East saw “striking” levels of excess deaths occurring in people’s homes between July and October.
Analysis of official data by HSJ shows the region, which excludes London, had almost 900 excess deaths in the 10 weeks to 2 October (around 10 per 100,000 population), which accounted for almost three-quarters of the national total in that period.
Excess deaths means the number taking place above the seasonal average of previous years.
Deaths in people’s homes — as opposed to in hospitals or care homes, for example — more than accounted for the total excess. Meanwhile, only 132 of the region’s deaths in this period mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate.
Experts have described the South East numbers as “very striking”, but said it is not immediately clear what was causing it to be such a significant outlier.
Possible explanations for excess mortality during the pandemic have included disruptions to normal health services, as well as anxiety among patients about attending hospital or GP surgeries.
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Source: HSJ, 20 October 2020