Is the UK experiencing a Second Wave of Covid-19?
I have compiled the available 2020 EuroMOMO “Z-Score” (Excess mortality compared to average for time of the year) graphs for all 4 areas of the UK (England, Scotland, Wales + Northern Ireland), broken down by age categories: (Imgur links)
Is the UK currently experiencing a Second Wave of Covid-19?
It is difficult to reconcile EuroMOMO data linked above with the reported increasing daily positive case numbers (PCR Testing) and the increasing daily Covid-19 mortality reports (defined as Mortality within 28 Days of a Positive PCR Test).
It is necessary to compare the First Wave vs the proposed Second Wave:
First Wave — We can observe that in all age categories (except 0-14), there as a very noticeable spike of excess mortality between Weeks 11 and 21. This is most pronounced in the Age 85+ category, second in ages 65-74 and is only just peaking above the “Substantial Increase” level in Ages 15-44. This does seem to fit with the known pattern of Covid-19 IFR, which is so heavily skewed towards mortality in older age groups.
Second Wave — By focusing on the most recent data (Week 38 – 43) the distinctive wave described above does not appear. Instead, for the two most vulnerable age groups, in all four regions of the country the excess mortality is running at around base line (zero excess mortality).
Concerningly, in recent weeks, the only age group in which there are clear spikes of excess death is Ages 15 – 44 (England and Northern Ireland), who are known to not be at high risk of Covid-19 mortality. Since lockdown measures have been in place, England excess mortality in ages 15-44 has always been higher than baseline, and has peaked above or close to “Substantial Increase” on three occasions.
This does not appear to support the description of a Second Wave of Covid-19.
One explanation for how we could be experiencing such high Covid-19 deaths without incurring any excess overall mortality is Covid-19 deaths are replacing all normal level Influenza / Respiratory deaths. Alternatively, we are mis-attributing deaths to Covid-19 that are in fact from other causes, due to the “28 Days from Positive Test” standard.
It is of severe concern that excess deaths amongst younger ages are so evident – this could be evidence of negative consequences of lockdown measures amongst the young.
Are there regional differences in the data?
In age category 0-14, excess mortality is stable in all UK regions. However, for the older age groups, there is a noticeably larger excess mortality in England than the other 3 regions. Scotland was second most affected. Northern Ireland and Wales did reach the “Substantial Increase” level of excess mortality during the first wave, but were not as badly affected overall.