COVID-19 – Florence Nightingale Diagrams of Deaths in England & Wales

October 15, 2021

The number of deaths registered in England and Wales in week 41 was 11,177 deaths (week ending 15 Oct ); 13.9% above the five-year average (1,366 more deaths). Of the registered deaths in England and Wales, 713 mentioned COVID-19 (6.4% of all deaths)

See ONS update 

Registered death comparisons for the year up to week 36 

Year Total deaths registered up to week 41  Compared to  2015-19 week 41
2021 458,955 +39,708
2020 473,702,169  +54,455
2015-2019 average 419,247

Florence Nightingale used a form of radial plots to display data from the Crimean War that demonstrated the death rate amongst soldiers could be reduced by better hygiene practices.

When time-series data is plotted as a normal x-y plot with the time variable along the x-axis it is difficult to identify seasonality or other factors that may influence the data.

Plotting the weekly numbers of deaths using this radial form demonstrates the variability during the first months of the year – For example, deaths from “Aussie flu” in the first weeks of 2018 can be observed. The increase in the number of deaths from the first week in April 2020 can clearly be seen.

Plots up to Dec 25 provided by Irene M. Stratton, Senior Statistician, Gloucestershire Retinal Research Group.
Plots were thereafter provided by Carl Heneghan.