Is there a difference in mortality rates between the first and second waves of Covid-19?

By April 8, 2021 CHD News

After all the grim news of the last year about the toll that the Coronavirus pandemic has taken, the UK’s Covid-19 vaccine programme and falling death rates are certainly cause for celebration. CHKS is building a model to enable healthcare providers to understand the mortality variances between hospitals across the country during the pandemic and the reasons for them.

Covid-19 is excluded from standard risk-adjusted mortality models, so CHKS has developed a way to compare in-hospital mortality rates specifically for patients with confirmed Covid-19.  The model allows hospitals to compare their actual deaths with the number they would expect given the case mix (age and sex) of their Covid-19 cases.

Our data shows that the likelihood of someone dying in hospital from Covid-19 reduced substantially between the first and second wave of the pandemic. During wave one (March-April 2020), the most frequently admitted hospital patient with Covid-19 was aged between 75 and 85. Almost half of them (47%) died from their illness. During wave two (Nov–Dec 2020), this figure fell to just over a third (36%).

How risks changed between the first and second wave:

  • People of all ages are now less likely to die from Covid-19 in hospital, but the risk remains higher than for other serious conditions
  • The risk of dying from Covid-19 in hospital has fallen most for younger patients. For example, the risk halved for those less than 55 years old
  • Both the overall risk and the shape of the risk-age curve changed significantly between the waves.

By benchmarking this information, we are building a model to help hospitals really understand how they perform in relation to Covid-19 deaths.

We’ll continue to update our model with data from January and February 2021, allowing healthcare professionals to understand the effect of new Covid-19 variants from December 2020 onwards.

You can read our detailed report here.

To find out how we can help you to gain better insights into Covid-19 mortality rates in your area you can reach us at

CAPITA Healthcare Solutions