Excess Winter Deaths Highest Since 1976

Excess Winter Deaths Highest Since 1976

December 4, 2018

By Paul Homewood


The ONS has published the Excess Winter Deaths stats for 2017/18, and as expected they are sharply up:

 Figure 1_ Excess winter deaths and five-year central moving average



The ONS list the major points:


Main points

  • In the 2017 to 2018 winter period, there were an estimated 50,100 excess winter deaths in England and Wales.

  • The number of excess winter deaths in 2017 to 2018 was the highest recorded since winter 1975 to 1976.

  • During the winter months of 2017 to 2018, the number of daily deaths exceeded the daily five-year average for all days except 25 March. [Winter is defined as Dec to March]

  • Excess winter mortality in 2017 to 2018 significantly increased from 2016 to 2017 in all English regions and Wales, with Wales having the highest regional index.

  • Excess winter mortality continued to be highest in females and people aged 85 and over.

  • Excess winter mortality doubled among males aged 0 to 64 years between 2016 to 2017 and 2017 to 2018.

  • Over one-third (34.7%) of all excess winter deaths were caused by respiratory diseases.

Statistician’s comment

“The number of excess winter deaths in England and Wales in 2017 to 2018 was the highest recorded since the winter of 1975 to 1976. However, peaks like these are not unusual – we have seen more than eight peaks during the last 40 years. It is likely that last winter’s increase was due to the predominant strain of flu, the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine and below-average winter temperatures”.

Although the effectiveness of the flu vaccine was undoubtedly a major factor in the rise in EWD, the figures are a reminder that cold kills.

But what is particularly interesting in this latest edition is the summer mortality stats.

Death rates in June and July, when the heatwave peaked, are virtually identical to the five-year average (which does not include this year). Actual daily deaths were 1281, against the five-year average of 1279.


This is strong evidence that heatwaves have no significant effect on mortality rates.

But that does not stop MPs from warning us about 7000 heat-related deaths every year by 2050.



December 4, 2018 at 11:58AM

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