Mild Weather Reduces Winter Deaths To Record Low In UK
By Paul Homewood http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-30243635 I wonder where Roger Harrabin is today! I was waiting for the stats to be published by the ONS, but in the meantime the BBC beat me to it! The lowest ever number of winter deaths was recorded last year, official figures for England and Wales show. An estimated 18,200 excess winter deaths occurred in 2013-14, the lowest number since records began in 1950-51. Last winter was notably warmer than in previous years and had a relatively mild flu season which contributed to the lower number of deaths. The Office for National Statistics data compares deaths in winter months with averages in other seasons. It showed 11.6% more people died last winter and elderly people were disproportionately affected. Of the 18,200 excess deaths, 14,000 were in the over-75s. Temperatures were 2C above average for December and January last year. The ONS report said: “The peak in mortality for 2013-14 was much less pronounced than in previous years with 8% fewer mean [average] daily deaths during December and January compared to the five year average.” While excess winter deaths are linked to low temperatures, hypothermia is not the main cause. Experience shows that the majority of such deaths are due to heart disease, stroke and respiratory illness. The Office of National Statistics use the following methodology: Our standard method defines the winter period as December to March, and compares the number of deaths that occurred in this winter period with the average number of deaths occurring in the preceding August to November and the following April to July: EWM = winter deaths – average non-winter deaths This produces the number of excess winter deaths (EWDs), which is then rounded to the nearest 10 for final data and to the nearest 100 for provisional data. We can take a closer look at the trends in recent years. http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/subnational-health2/excess-winter-mortality-in-england-and-wales/2013-14–provisional–and-2012-13–final-/stb.html#tab-Key-Findings Now contrast with mean temperature in England & Wales for Dec to March. http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/pub/data/weather/uk/climate/datasets/Tmean/date/England_and_Wales.txt A year ago, the BBC reported: There was a big rise in the number of winter deaths last year, official figures for England and Wales show. An estimated 31,100 excess winter deaths occurred in 2012-13 – a 29% increase on the previous winter. The Office for National Statistics data, which compares deaths in winter months with averages in other seasons, shows most of the deaths involved people over 75. Cold weather and flu largely explain the trends. Although last winter was milder than average in December, there followed a prolonged period of lower than average temperatures. March 2013 was the coldest since 1962 with an average monthly temperature of just 2.6°C. The number of winter deaths peaked in the first week of January, which coincided with a peak in rates of influenza-like illness over the Christmas weeks. The death rate remained higher than average for a prolonged period between February and April 2013. And what about those deadly heatwaves we keep hearing about? The lowest number of deaths nearly always occurs in August, as it did again this year, with June, July and September the next lowest. Along with a record harvest this year and domestic electricity consumption down 8% during Q1, it appears that Britain has little to fear from a warmer climate.
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