‘Deadliest day’ of UK’s Covid-19 pandemic was in second wave, not first

Ian Jones
·2-min read

The UK suffered its worst day for Covid-19 deaths during the second wave of the virus, new analysis confirms.

A total of 1,463 deaths occurred on January 19 where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

This is four more than the 1,459 deaths that occurred on April 8 2020, which was previously the UK’s “deadliest day”.

The total for January 19 has only now overtaken April 8, due to a small number of deaths that have recently been registered.

Coronavirus graphic
(PA Graphics)

The figures have been published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), and provide the fullest picture so far of how the Covid-19 pandemic has unfolded in the UK.

They show that 147,681 deaths have now occurred in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

Watch: One year on from first known coronavirus death in the UK

The number of deaths taking place has slowed, however, with the cumulative total taking five days to rise from 130,000 to 135,000, then a further eight days to reach 140,000 and another 10 days to reach 145,000.

Analysis of the ONS data by the PA news agency shows that:

– More than 1,000 Covid-19 deaths occurred each day for 24 days in a row in January. During the first wave of the virus, the daily death toll topped 1,000 for 23 consecutive days in April.

Coronavirus graphic
(PA Graphics)

– The grim milestone of 125,000 deaths was passed on January 26, just 19 days since the cumulative total had passed 100,000 on January 7.

– It took more than twice as long – 43 days – for the total to rise from 75,000 to 100,000.

– Using the end of August 2020 as a dividing line between the first and second waves, 57,818 deaths took place in the first wave, while 89,863 deaths have so far taken place in the second wave.

The ONS data refers to all mentions of coronavirus on a death certificate, whether an underlying cause or not.

About nine in 10 registered coronavirus deaths have Covid-19 listed as the underlying cause.

Separate figures published by the Government show that, as of March 15, 125,580 people had died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19.

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