Deaths from non-respiratory causes are projected to be a massive 10% higher than expected in 2022. Non-respiratory mortality typically varies little from year to year, changing by a maximum of just 1.3% in each of the six years from 2015 to 2020. However 2021 has registered a 3.72% increase and 2022 is projected to show a catastrophic 10.0% increase.
Because it is usually so stable, non-respiratory mortality is a useful way of showing that the ongoing excess mortality currently being experienced in the U.K. is unprecedented and unrelated to normal seasonal variation. It also shows that it has been happening ever since Covid vaccinations began in earnest in early 2021.
Respiratory disease (which is largely seasonal) is the largest component of variability in mortality statistics during the normal course of events. This means we can be justified in grouping all other mortality events together and terming them ‘core mortality’, regarding them as perhaps a better marker of the nation’s overall health. This is especially useful for the purposes of analysing the pandemic years, because Covid has replaced other respiratory diseases to some extent in the mortality statistics.
Looking at the pre-Covid data from 2015 -2019 it is possible to subtract the data for all respiratory disease (ICD code 10 J00-99), and arrive at a figure for non-respiratory mortality (NRM) for each week of the year. An average for the five pre-Covid years can then be calculated and compared with each individual year. Note we use the pre-Covid average as a baseline to avoid the unusual mortality of the pandemic years.
Here are the charts for those six years, 2015-2020, which demonstrate the relative stability of NRM statistics.