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

June 25, 2021

The number of deaths registered in England and Wales in week 27 was 9,752 (Week ending 9 July); 6.2% above the five-year average (569 more deaths).

Of the registered deaths in England and Wales, 183 mentioned COVID-19, 1.9% of all deaths.

See ONS update 

Registered death comparisons for the year up to week 27 

Year Total deaths registered up to week 27 The difference compared to  2021
2021 (week ending 9 July) 314,520  –
2020 344,746 30,226 more
2015-2019 average 290,738 23,782 fewer

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 thereafter provided by CEBM
Acknowledgements: Jason Oke and Carl Heneghan commented on earlier versions of this graph