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Shropshire hit by substantially more deaths than normal amid pandemic

By Deborah Hardiman | Coronavirus | Published:

Figures show that Shropshire experienced substantially more deaths than normal during the worst period of the coronavirus crisis – while Telford and Wrekin experienced more than twice as many.

The number of excess deaths in Shropshire hit a peak in the week ending April 3, with 62 per cent more deaths than the average for the previous five years.

Overall, the county had more deaths than usual in 12 of the 15 weeks between March 6 and June 12.

Analysis shows that the number of excess deaths in Telford and Wrekin hit a peak in the week ending April 17, with 113 per cent more deaths than the average for the same period. Overall, the borough had more deaths than usual in 11 of the 15 weeks between March 6 and June 12.

Meanwhile, Powys experienced one of the biggest surges in excess deaths in Wales with almost twice as many deaths as normal at its peak.

For the week ending April 24 there were with 98 per cent more deaths than the average for the previous five years and one of the highest peaks seen at any point in the pandemic in the country. Overall, the county had more deaths than usual in seven of the 15 weeks between March 6 and June 12.

The King’s Fund think tank said the coronavirus has exposed the “widening health divide” in the UK, after Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures revealed every part of the country had seen an increase in deaths.

The ONS compared the all-cause mortality of 23 European countries, taking account of age difference in the population.

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It found by the end of May, England had the highest level of excess mortality in Europe, at eight per cent above normal – ahead of Spain at seven per cent and Scotland at five per cent.

Excess death figures are seen as the most accurate way of measuring the effect of the crisis, as they are not affected by the different ways countries record Covid-19 deaths.

The ONS said the first half of 2020 saw “extraordinary increases” in mortality rates across Western Europe.

The charity the Health Foundation said this more uniform spread of the virus could explain why Covid-19 has taken such a “huge and deadly toll” on the country, although it also questioned whether the timing of the lockdown had been a factor.

Deborah Hardiman

By Deborah Hardiman
@Deborahh_Star

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based out of the head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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