ANOTHER 1,200 people have died with Covid – a year to the day after the UK’s first virus death was recorded.
But there’s hope the country may have finally battled past the peak as deaths plunge by 11 per cent on last week.
New daily coronavirus cases are dropping – raising hopes the pandemic’s grip on the UK is finally beginning to easeCredit: Getty Images – Getty
However, hospitals across the country remain under huge pressure Credit: Alamy Live News
Meanwhile, new cases have also dropped by a whopping 30 per cent on last week.
In total, 3,796,088 people have now been diagnosed with coronavirus after a further 23,275 positive cases were recorded.
This time last week, 33,552 more tested positive.
And new hospital admissions on Wednesday – the latest data available – are down 25 per cent on the previous Wednesday.
Today marks a year since the first known Covid death was recorded in the country – and Britain has faced the deadliest month of the pandemic so far.
During the April peak, the highest daily death toll recorded was 1,010.
But that tragic total has been exceeded on 19 days this month – and this week, the UK hit a bleak milestone as more than 100,000 deaths were recorded in total.
In the past 24 hours, health officials have recorded a further 681 deaths in hospitals in England.
Patients were aged between 18 and 101, and 23 of the casualties, who were aged between 47 and 92, had no known underlying health conditions.
The majority of deaths – 155 – were recorded in the south-east, with 136 fatalities in London, 134 in the Midlands, 93 in the east, and 88 in the north-west.
A further 57 lives were lost in the north-east and Yorkshire, while 18 more people died in the south-west.
In Scotland, 994 new cases and 60 further deaths have been recorded, while in Wales, 737 further positive tests and 25 more fatalities were reported.
It comes as:
New official estimates show 161,000 Brits could have died by the end of next month, including 120,000 struck down directly by the bug.
The other deaths are likely to come from delayed cancer treatment and mental health problems caused as a result of strict lockdowns, it’s claimed.
Experts have offered various estimates as to how many more deaths can be expected.
Sage academic Professor Calum Semple said: “It would really not surprise me if we’re looking at another 40,000 or 50,000 deaths before this burns out.”
And epidemiologist Dr Adam Kucharshki said 30,000 more Brits will die within the next month.
England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Whitty has refused to be drawn on how many more deaths can be expected – but warned: “We are going to see quite a lot more deaths over the next few weeks before the effects of the vaccine are going to be felt, and we have to be realistic about that.”
And while new cases of the virus are finally dropping dramatically, officials have warned the lockdown is set to continue for months more.
The UK is on track to inoculate more than 13million of the most vulnerable by mid-February
It’s believed non-essential shops, gyms and hairdressers won’t reopen until April, while pubs could remain closed until May.
Boris Johnson has asked ministers to draft plans to relax currently strict rules on exercise after extending the shutdown until at least March 8.
Mr Johnson announced this week that he’ll make a ‘road map’ out of restrictions public on February 22.
The plan will depend on “the continued success of the vaccination program,” as well as the “capacity of the NHS” and the rate at which people are dying from coronavirus in the UK.
The PM admitted that getting kids back to class was tied to the national restrictions – and children will not be going back after February half-term as initially hoped.
And he said youngsters would continue to learn remotely for weeks to come – as there’s not yet enough data to decide when to lift the lockdown measures.
But there’s hope on the horizon that the end may finally be in sight.
The latest Government figures suggest the growth rate, which estimates how quickly the number of infections is changing day by day, is between minus 5 per cent and zero for the UK as a whole.
It means the number of new infections in the UK is broadly flat or shrinking by up to 5 per cent every day.
Sage said this week said the estimates are based on the latest data, available up to January 25, including hospital admissions and deaths as well as symptomatic testing and prevalence studies.
As of today, 8.38million Brits have received at least one vaccine – including 57 per cent of the first four priority groups.
Infection rates in the over-80s have fallen by 36 per cent this month. Other age groups have seen similar falls.
The biggest drop was recorded in people in their 20s. Rates in that age group have halved.