Every day the UK Government publishes figures for the numbers of deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/. These numbers come from Public Health England (PHE). Both the number of deaths reported on each day and the number of deaths that occurred on each day are presented. The notification of a COVID-19 death to PHE is subject to a reporting delay, which is typically several days, but can be as long as several weeks. Consequently, the number of deaths that occurred on each day is incomplete, particularly for the most recent days. The process of estimating the number of deaths that occurred on each day from the numbers of deaths that have so far been reported is referred to as `nowcasting’. For details of our approach to such a nowcast see Seaman S et al. 2020.
This method involves using information on the time between date of death and date of report to estimate the pattern of reporting delay and how this pattern changes over calendar time. We use this knowledge to correct the reported death figures to include the deaths that have not yet reported. By doing this, we provide timely estimates of the number of deaths that have occurred on each day and, therefore, of the trends in CoVID-19 mortality, by age group and regions. Uncertainty in the numbers of deaths that occurred on each day is quantified by credible intervals. Note that, in addition to the three sources of death reports described in our paper, we are now using death reports from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and death reports from Pillar Two testing.
We regularly estimate, for each of five age strata, the number of people who died in England on each day within 28 days and 60 days of a positive antigen test.
- Figures for deaths within 28 days of a positive antigen test (18th March 2021)
- Figures for deaths within 60 days of a positive antigen test (18th March 2021)