Ridhi Kashyap adds, ‘The magnitude of these losses in life expectancy…is truly unprecedented.’

The study also shows, to 20 November, male excess deaths accounted for 55.4% (31,791 deaths). Men in all age groups accounted for more of the excess deaths than women.

There was also clear evidence older adults accounted for most excess deaths. Among the groups 75–85 and 85 and older, there were 17.2% and 13.7% more deaths than expected.

The number of deaths among middle-aged adults and younger retired people, between 45–64 and 64–74 years of age, respectively were 17.6% and 16.0% above the baseline.

But, the researchers say, ‘We estimate no excess deaths among those younger than 15 years. Meanwhile, the 15–44-year-old age group saw 652 excess deaths (6.2%) above the expected level.

The researchers show how these excess deaths, to 20 November, had major implications for life expectancy between 2019 and 2020. According to the paper, ‘Life expectancy dropped a staggering 0.9 and 1.2 years for women and men, respectively, between these years.’

But, the team believes, these figures increased further, so that, by the end of December the impact on life expectancy was -1.0 and -1.3 respectively.

The research was published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, BMJ Journals  ‘Estimating the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic on mortality, life expectancy and lifespan inequality in England and Wales: a population-level analysis’

ONS figures estimate there were 72,174 excess deaths in England and Wales in the 10 months of the pandemic in 2020, up to the week ending January 1, 2021. The ONS compared figures from a five-year period.   The Leverhulme Centre study reported in this release calculates excess deaths comparing data from the past 10 years.