"We aren't seeing excess deaths. The people who die with coronavirus would have died of something else anyway."

"Compared to earlier years the number of people dying isn't unusually high."

"There might have been excess deaths in the spring, but there aren't now."

"There aren't as many excess deaths as in a normal year."

"Even if there are excess deaths, it doesn't mean Covid caused them."

  1. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows that there were substantial excess deaths. First, let's be clear about what these terms mean. The ONS records the total number of deaths in any week. When you average those weekly deaths across a five-year period, this is considered the baseline - the number of deaths you'd expect in a normal year. "Excess" deaths are deaths numbers that are above that baseline.

Nick Stripe from the Office for National Statistics noted on 6 January 2021 that in the previous 52 weeks, there were around 604,000 deaths registered across England and Wales. This was 73,000 deaths—or 14%—higher than the baseline from the previous five years. This means that 2020 was a particularly brutal year for deaths. It shows conclusively that the "no excess deaths" argument is not correct.

We can also look at the specific weeks in which the "excess" deaths occur. Deaths in 2020 started off below the five-year baseline. Compared to the baseline, there were very many more deaths in the Spring (corresponding to the first wave of Covid). Then, the excess death number rose again from mid-October, as shown in the following chart, from Nick Stripe of the ONS. The raw data, including the baseline and the 2020 figures, can be found on this page.


  1. Covid-19 was the main thing responsible for those excess deaths. Looking at the total numbers dying, and the number of those who died of Covid, the Office for National Statistics chart below makes clear that Covid was the main cause of the excess deaths in 2020. Indeed, in the later part of 2020, the number of people dying of other causes was below the five year average, and the total was higher only because of Covid.


  1. It doesn't make sense to say "fewer excess deaths than usual". As noted in this set of rebuttals to Covid sceptic arguments, excess deaths are defined as deaths above the five-year average. If you accept that there are any excess deaths at all, you can't argue that there are fewer excess deaths "than usual". This makes no sense.

Page added on 19 January 2021