COVID-19: UK currently has highest coronavirus death rate in the world, researchers say

·4-min read

The UK currently has the highest daily death rate in the world, according to figures collated by an Oxford University research platform.

Our World In Data revealed an average of 935 daily deaths over the last week was the equivalent of more than 16 people in every million dying each day with coronavirus.

It comes as a further 599 coronavirus deaths were reported in the UK, bringing the total number of deaths within 28 days of a positive test to 89,860.

Meanwhile, a further 37,535 confirmed coronavirus cases were also recorded in the past 24 hours.

That compares with figures released on Sunday of 671 further deaths and 38,598 confirmed cases.

Public Health England (PHE) has also confirmed 4,062,501 people have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

It comes as 24-hour vaccination sites are set to be piloted in London before the end of January.

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Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi told Sky News the NHS will be "targeting forensically who we want to protect" to ensure the most vulnerable people can be vaccinated first.

He said as there is "limited supply", the vaccine "needs to get into the arms of the most vulnerable" such as those who are elderly or clinically extremely vulnerable.

Boris Johnson has warned the UK is still in a "pretty precarious" position as ministers prepare for the easing of lockdown restrictions from early March.

The prime minister said the process would be gradual, with no great "open sesame" moment when curbs on freedoms are suddenly lifted.

Mr Johnson, on a visit to the manufacturing facility for the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine, said: "I understand completely that people want to get back to normal as fast as we possibly can. It does depend on things going well.

"It depends on the vaccination programme going well, it depends on there being no new variants that throw our plans out and we have to mitigate against, and it depends on everybody, all of us, remembering that we're not out of the woods yet."

NHS data showed London had administered the lowest number of vaccinations in England's regions, with a total of 417,225 first and second doses between 8 December and 17 January, while the Midlands had delivered 746,487.

Sadiq Khan said he "fully expects" to see the number of jabs administered in London increase.

The mayor of London said in a statement: "The number of COVID cases in London is extremely high and it's absolutely vital that vulnerable Londoners are given access to the life-saving vaccines as quickly as possible.

"I have been calling for a fair share of vaccine supply in London and I was greatly encouraged by hearing from the minister for COVID vaccine deployment, Nadhim Zahawi, that the government is listening.

"The supply of vaccines and the number of places across London where people can get a jab will both now increase."

Analysis: 'A miserable landmark in this second wave of the pandemic'
Ed Conway, economics and data editor

Last week we underlined that while the daily reported death figures had surpassed the levels of last spring, that hadn't happened yet on the basis of the more comparable series which plots deaths by the date of death.

However, the latest sad news is that on that yardstick too, deaths are now within a whisker of overtaking the spring peak, rising above 1,000 a day last week.

The spring peak was 1,073 deaths, and the provisional numbers for last Monday show deaths of 1,041 and 1,019 last Tuesday.

Indeed, if one looks at a rolling two-day average we've already overtaken the daily mortality levels of the spring.

It's still worth bearing a few provisos in mind, the first of which is that the deaths figures in spring almost certainly understated the full mortality consequences of COVID-19 (a clue is that excess deaths of all causes outnumbered COVID-19 deaths considerably).

The second is that we may now be nearing the peak for deaths, since case growth and hospital admissions look to have peaked in England.

However, this is yet another miserable landmark in this second wave of the pandemic.

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