If you download the latest ONS death stats spreadsheet, and look at the page entitled ‘Covid-19 – E&W comparisons’, you will some some tables that are presented very unclearly. They do tell us useful something about the week 14 ‘Covid-19 deaths’ category, though. I’ve copied the relevant tables (click to enlarge):
If you look at the second column, on April 3, when the stats were compiled for week 13 (March 21-27), there were 647 Covid-19-related total deaths for the year registered by March 27. As we had 108 registered by March 20 (end of week 12), that means 539 registrations came in between March 21-27, ie. in week 13. Hence, this is the C-19 death figure used on the ‘Weekly Figures 2020’ page for week 13.
But look at the third column. By April 3 we also knew that in actual fact 1941 people had died by March 27, not 647. That means that 1294 certificates for deaths that occurred before the end of week 13 must have arrived in week 14 (March 28-April 3). Although these were deaths that occurred before week 14 (mostly in week 13, plus a few hundred from earlier weeks by the look of it), they will be included in the week 14 stats, not the week 13 stats, because that’s how the ONS works, the deaths are included in the week the certificates arrived and were logged, not when the deaths occurred.
So it looks like to me that almost 1300 of the Covid-19 deaths that were reported for week 14 actually occurred in week 13 rather than 14, so the week 14 numbers are inflated by those.
In fact, we can see from the fourth column, which lists what we know on April 11, that a further 176 deaths had in fact occurred by 27 March, and these will go into the week 15 stats, even though they occurred in week 13.
But will a similar thing occur with the week 14 stats? Maybe the numbers for week 14 don’t include a lot of deaths which really did happen in that week due to certificates which arrived after week 14?
The fourth column tells us that this is in fact happening. But first look at the second column, right at the bottom row. For 3 April there were 4122 total Covid-19 deaths for the year that had been registered by 3 April. But the fourth column, bottom row again, tells us that by 11 April we knew that there were really 6235 C-19 deaths by 3 April. That means that 2113 certificates for C-19 deaths that occurred before 3 April must have come in between April 4-11. These will go in the week 15 stats, but they are deaths that occurred in week 14. So really week 14 had even more Covid-19 (and overall) deaths than we thought, even taking into account the 1300 that really occurred earlier than week 14.
So that’s one possible explanation ruled out for why there were a lot of extra deaths in week 14.