England had the highest levels of excess deaths in Europe between the end of February and the middle of June, official analysis shows.
The Office for National Statistics says England saw the second highest peak rates of death in Europe, after Spain.
But England had the longest period where deaths were above average, and so overall had the highest levels.
Areas in Spain and Italy, like Milan and Madrid, were harder hit than cities in the UK
But the ONS analysis shows the epidemic in the UK was more widespread than in other countries, with Scotland seeing the third highest death rate in Europe.
By 23 May, the death rate in England was 7.5% higher than it has been in recent years.
Spain’s increase, 6.7%, was the second highest in the countries studied followed by Scotland’s rise of 5.1%.
This analysis adds to previous studies of excess deaths by taking account of the ages of the population in each country.
But deaths in Spain returned to normal levels faster, so over the whole year so far, England has seen more deaths compared to previous years.
Let’s use the UK as an example. If 2020 had been an average year, the dotted line in the chart below shows how many people we would have expected to die each week. This is known as expected deaths and is calculated based on the number of deaths in previous years.
Any deaths above those expected are known as excess deaths. During the coronavirus pandemic, many countries have recorded significantly more deaths than expected this year.
Many of these excess deaths can be explained by the number of people who were officially confirmed to have had Covid-19. But in many places, that does not account for all the excess deaths.
The total number of excess deaths shows a more complete picture of the human scale of the coronavirus outbreak.
Madrid, Barcelona and Milan all saw higher peaks in death rates than cities in the UK.
But the ONS said that the epidemic was more widespread in the UK than in other countries.
Seven of the 15 cities that saw the biggest rise in deaths rates were in the UK.
The change for those who test positive, or show symptoms, comes amid fears of a resurgence.
News – England highest level of excess deaths in Europe