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Earlier I said in Scotland people who leave the house to exercise have to start their exercise from their front door. Sorry, that’s not quite right. The level 4 guidance says: “Travel no further than you need to reach to a safe, non-crowded place to exercise in a socially distanced way.”
But it is true of Wales where the lockdown guidance says: “You can leave home as often as you like to exercise as long as you do so from home.”
Last night, before publication of the latest death figures from England and Wales, Sky’s economics editor Ed Conway published an excellent article putting the 2020 death figures in context. He also summarised his findings in a Twitter thread starting here. “On almost every metric, the mortality change in 2020 was disastrously bad,” he says.
This chart illustrates how total deaths have been higher than in any year since 1918, when the UK had to deal with the first world war and the flu pandemic. But the population was much smaller 100 years ago, and in relative terms deaths have only fallen back to 2003 numbers, Conway says.
The first point is that in terms of pure numbers of deaths, this is the worst year since 1918 – the final year of WWI and the Spanish Influenza. More than 600,000 people died in England & Wales in 2020. That’s more than any year in WWII (inc military deaths). pic.twitter.com/zfnreVr6jy
In 2020 the population-adjusted excess death rate was the highest since 1940. Higher than any postwar pandemic and matched in peacetime only by 1929 (severe flu pandemic and economic crash) and 1847 (potato blight and famine in parts of N Europe). pic.twitter.com/H1jqoL7dQ4
This is one of the most shocking charts I’ve ever posted. It plots annual changes in the Eng/Wales mortality rate.
In 2020 it deteriorated (eg more people died vs the prev yr in population & age-adjusted terms) than any year since 1929.