UK coronavirus death toll will continue to rise by record figures, experts warn

Leah Sinclair
·2-min read
<p>A further 1,610 coronavirus deaths were recorded in the UK on Tuesday – the highest number reported on a single day since the outbreak began</p> (REUTERS)

A further 1,610 coronavirus deaths were recorded in the UK on Tuesday – the highest number reported on a single day since the outbreak began

(REUTERS)

Scientists have warned that the UK will see further “record-breaking” rises in Covid-linked fatalities after the country recorded its highest daily death toll since the pandemic began.

A further 1,610 coronavirus deaths were recorded in the UK on Tuesday – the highest number reported on a single day since the outbreak began.

Public Health England (PHE) said the figure – for those who had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 – brought the UK total to 91,470.

Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 108,000 deaths involving the virus in the UK.

While officials believe there are signs the lockdown measures in place around the country are having an effect, the lag between people becoming infected and then being admitted to hospital means deaths will probably not start coming down until towards the end of the month.

Watch: Coronavirus in numbers - UK death toll reaches 93,290

Dr Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, warned there could be further “record-breaking” days concerning the number of newly reported deaths.

“The lockdown is starting to show an effect on new cases per day,” he said.

“However, a proportion of the cases from early January will be admitted to hospital approximately this week, and deaths from those cases will likely peak around the end of this month.

“Therefore, we will alas see several more ‘record-breaking’ days in terms of newly-reported deaths."

Mr Head added that the combination of the lockdown and the vaccine roll-out should translate “into a reduction of severe Covid-19 cases” over the coming weeks.

This comes as Home Secretary Priti Patel said it is too early to discuss easing the coronavirus restrictions.

She told Sky News: “We are at a pivotal stage. Our vaccine rollout is under way but we have a long way to go with vaccination.

“We cannot talk about easing restrictions and measures until we are absolutely clear we have vaccinated priority groups.”

Asked whether mid-February remained the target for lifting some measures, she said that applied to those in the top four priority groups but that it was “no time to speak about” relaxations.

Ms Patel added: “Quite frankly, when I look at the incredible work that is taking place in the NHS right now, when we still see hospitalisation figures now standing at over 38,000 people, with the number of people still dying with coronavirus, with the number of hospital admissions increasing, this is no time to speak about the relaxation of measures and we’re not going to do that publicly yet.

“We have a long way to go.”

Watch: PM warns more Covid deaths in 'tough weeks to come'

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