DATA which seemed to show a huge peak of non-Covid deaths on the Isle of Wight in September 2020 has had people scratching their heads this week.

The graph was published on the BBC website, showing deaths related to coronavirus in red and other deaths in grey — but the Isle of Wight graph stood out for a strange reason.

It showed a peak of non-Covid deaths during one week in September, comparable to the devastating Covid-19 peak in January 2021.

It led to speculation and questions across social media, with people wondering what had caused such a sudden and unexplained death toll. People also messaged the County Press with their concerns.

We made some enquiries and discovered there was an explanation — but there hadn't been a huge spike of deaths that week.

Deaths aren't recorded by the day they occur, but the day they are registered, and there had been a delay in registering a significant number of deaths. As a result, there was a backlog all recorded at once.

An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said: “The BBC chart shows number of deaths by date of registration rather than by date of occurrence. There certainly was a spike in death registrations in week 39 (w/e 25 September 2020) with a total of 71 deaths registered that week.

“When number of deaths are plotted by date of occurrence, the graph is much flatter. There was no corresponding spike in deaths actually occurring during the week in question.

"This suggests that the spike was due to delays in the process of registration rather than a spike in the number of deaths taking place.”

On the Island, 280 people have died a Covid-19 related death since the pandemic began.

Isle of Wight County Press:

What the graph shows: Deaths are where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate. The chart shows the number of deaths recorded each week per 100,000 people in that area. Covid deaths are in red, other deaths are in grey. The average is the monthly average of deaths in the last five years between 2014 to 2019. This average will continue to be used in 2021. Recording of deaths over Christmas and New Year was affected by the bank holidays - trends should be treated with caution.

Source: ONS, NRS and NISRA - data updated weekly.