The UK records highest number of daily Covid deaths since pandemic started

A further 1,610 people have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive Covid test – the highest number of deaths reported on a single day since the pandemic began.

It comes as new data shared by Public Health England (PHE) showed one in eight people are likely to have had the virus in England.

The new record brings the UK total for those who have died after contracting Covid-19 to 91,470.

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However, the true number of those who have lost their lives to the virus has already reached the 108,000 mark, once cases where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate is taken into account.

On Tuesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that Scotland has had 71 coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours.

This means the death toll in Scotland under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – stands at 5,376.

New cases of Covid-19 in Scotland were recorded at 1,165, down from 1,429 on Monday.

Addressing the Scottish Parliament, Ms Sturgeon announced that lockdown restrictions are to stay in place across the country until at least the middle of February.

The UK has reported the highest number of daily deaths since the pandemic started.The UK has reported the highest number of daily deaths since the pandemic started.
The UK has reported the highest number of daily deaths since the pandemic started.

After the latest UK-wide death figures were revealed, Labour shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth tweeted: “Awful. Horrific. Devastating. And it didn’t have to be like this.”

Dr Yvonne Doyle, PHE’s medical director, said the country should be braced for further deaths and urged people to keep to the current social restrictions.

“Each death is a tragedy and the number of Covid-19 related deaths within 28 days of a positive test will continue for some time throughout this second wave,” she said.

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“Whilst there are some early signs that show our sacrifices are working, we must continue to strictly abide by the measures in place. By reducing our contacts and staying at home we will see a fall in the number of infections over time.”

The Government also said that, as of 9am on Tuesday, there had been a further 33,355 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, bringing the total to just shy of 3.5 million.

The stark mortality record comes after antibody data on infection in private households suggested that one in eight people in England would have tested positive for antibodies to Covid-19 by December last year, up from one in 14 in October.

One in 10 in Wales had also been infected by December, alongside one in 13 in Northern Ireland and one in 11 in Scotland.

The figures come from the Office for National Statistic’s Covid-19 Infection Survey in partnership with the University of Oxford, University of Manchester, Public Health England and Wellcome Trust.

They are based on the proportion of the population who are likely to have tested positive for antibodies to Covid-19, based on blood test results from a sample of people aged 16 and over, but do not reflect all the people who have had coronavirus and do not take account of antibodies waning over time.

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