Britain today announced 154 more Covid-19 deaths and just 653 coronavirus cases, in the lowest daily jump for more than three months as the outbreak continues to fizzle out.
Department of Health figures show the overall number of victims has now topped 43,000 — but other grim data taking into account all suspected deaths reveals the actual tally is at least 53,000.
Just 184 laboratory-confirmed deaths were recorded last Wednesday, meaning the daily toll has dropped 16 per cent in the space of a week. Only 171 fatalities were registered yesterday.
During the peak of Britain’s Covid-19 outbreak in April, more than 1,000 deaths were recorded on nine separate days. But the number of victims has been consistently dropping for eight weeks.
Government figures also show the 653 new cases is the fewest recorded since three days before lockdown was imposed — just 643 people tested positive for the disease on March 19.
More than 6,000 people were being diagnosed each day across the UK during the darkest days of the crisis but only a fraction of infected people were being tested because of a lacklustre testing scheme.
In other coronavirus developments in Britain today:
- Government scientific advisers fear opening schools fully in September could lead to hundreds of families being infected with coronavirus and force parts of the economy to close down again;
- The first Britons to head back to Spain on holiday revealed they’re enjoying ’empty’ beaches and beers in the sun — as local bars admitted they were dead without UK holidaymakers;
- McDonalds relaunched its breakfast menu in 42 pilot restaurants across the UK allowing Britons to get a McMuffin, as the fast food giant reopened 280 more restaurants for walk-in customers;
- Wetherspoons will reopen 750 pubs in England on July 4 but face a boycott from some punters over how staff were treated during lockdown;
- UK leisure chiefs slammed ‘completely illogical’ plans to keep gyms, swimming pools and sports centres closed while pubs reopen from the coronavirus lockdown;
- London drivers vented their anger as they faced more than 200 roadworks in the capital as rush-hour congestion levels shot up significantly — despite still being advised to avoid public transport;
- Sixteen leading medics warned Britain faces a ‘real risk’ of being struck by a second wave as they called on the government to launch a review to ensure the UK gets ‘ahead of the curve’.
HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE REALLY DIED OF THE CORONAVIRUS?
Department of Health: 43,081
Department of Health’s latest death count for all settings stands at 43,081.
The daily data does not represent how many Covid-19 patients died within the last 24 hours — it is only how many fatalities have been reported and registered with the authorities.
It also only takes into account patients who tested positive for the virus, as opposed to deaths suspected to be down to the coronavirus.
National statistical bodies: 53,785
Data compiled by the statistical bodies of each of the home nations show 53,785 people died of either confirmed or suspected Covid-19 across the UK by the end of May.
The Office for National Statistics yesterday confirmed that 48,866 people in England and Wales died with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 by June 12.
The number of coronavirus deaths was 802 by the same day in Northern Ireland, according to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).
National Records Scotland — which collects statistics north of the border — said 4,117 people had died across the country by June 14.
Their tallies are always 10 days behind the Department of Health (DH) because they wait until as many fatalities as possible for each date have been counted, to avoid having to revise their statistics.
Excess deaths: 65,213
The total number of excess deaths has now passed 65,000.
Excess deaths are considered to be an accurate measure of the number of people killed by the pandemic because they include a broader spectrum of victims.
As well as including people who may have died with Covid-19 without ever being tested, the data also shows how many more people died because their medical treatment was postponed, for example, or who didn’t or couldn’t get to hospital when they were seriously ill.
Data from England and Wales shows there has been an extra 59,324 deaths between March 20 and June 5, as well as 4,917 in Scotland between March 16 and June 14 and 972 in Northern Ireland between March 28 and June 12.
Department of Health data released today showed that 232,086 tests were carried out or posted yesterday — the second-highest daily figure. The number includes antibody tests for frontline NHS and care workers.
But bosses again refused to say how many people were tested, meaning the exact number of Brits who have been swabbed for the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been a mystery for a month — since May 22.
Health chiefs also reported 653 more cases of Covid-19, the fewest recorded in any day since before lockdown was imposed. Just 643 people tested positive for the life-threatening virus on Thursday, March 19.
The daily death data does not represent how many Covid-19 patients died within the last 24 hours — it is only how many fatalities have been reported and registered with the authorities.
The data does not always match updates provided by the home nations. For example, the Scottish government last Thursday announced two deaths – but the DH recorded nine north of the border.
Department of Health officials — who say the death toll now stands at 43,081 — work off a different time cut-off, meaning daily updates from Scotland as well as Northern Ireland are always out of sync. Wales is not thought to be affected.
And the count announced by NHS England every afternoon — which only takes into account deaths in hospitals — does not match up with the DH figures because they work off a different recording system.
For instance, some deaths announced by NHS England bosses will have already been counted by the Department of Health, which records fatalities ‘as soon as they are available’.
NHS England today reported 51 more victims in hospitals across the country. Wales recorded eight victims in all settings, followed by four in Scotland and one in Northern Ireland.
The figures come after one of the country’s top experts yesterday revealed Britons under the age of 50 are more likely to die from an accident or injury than the coronavirus.
Cambridge University statistician Sir David Spiegelhalter said there had been 959 Covid-19 deaths out of 18million people in that age range in England and Wales so far. But more than 80 per cent of these victims had pre-existing health conditions that make the viral disease far more deadly than it otherwise would be.
Sir David said under-40s were more likely to die in a car accident than from Covid-19 and for under-25s, the risk was lower than dying from flu or pneumonia.
The professor said his analysis reinforced ‘the extraordinary impact of age on the risk of catching and dying from Covid’
leading medics last night warned there is a very ‘real risk’ of a second wave of coronavirus striking the UK and the Government must start to prepare for it now.
In a letter published in the British Medical Journal and addressed to the leaders of all of Britain’s political parties, top doctors have called for a rapid review to prepare the country for another crisis.
Sixteen leading surgeons, doctors, psychiatrists, scientists, nurses, other medical professionals and the editors of Britain’s best medical journals put their names to a letter to officials.
The number of people waiting more than six weeks for a diagnostic test or scan in England has soared during the Covid-19 pandemic
NHS STAFF ARE BEING DENIED HOLIDAY IN THE AUTUMN BECAUSE HEALTH BOSSES FEAR A SECOND COVID-19 WAVE
NHS staff are being denied holiday in autumn because health bosses fear a second wave of Covid-19 will overwhelm Britain’s hospitals once again, it emerged today.
MailOnline can reveal at least one trust in England is blocking workers from taking annual leave in October, in case the coronavirus crisis spirals back out of control.
Health chiefs at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust said the decision was made after models suggested infections would eventually spike again post-lockdown.
It is the strongest admission yet that medical professionals feel uneasy about Boris Johnson’s latest round of lockdown-loosening measures, which will see the two-metre social distancing rule halved.
The news comes as 16 of the country’s leading medics today penned a letter to the Prime Minister demanding he starts preparing for the ‘very real risk’ of a second spike that is more deadly than the first.
They said the Government must pay ‘rapid attention’ to its failures from the first crisis, which includes PPE supplies, testing and tracing infrastructure and the disproportionate effect on ethnic minority people.
The World Health Organization (WHO) warned last week that the UK was particularly vulnerable to a second Covid-19 peak because of its lacklustre track and trace programme.
The piece said things needing ‘rapid attention’ are supplies of medical equipment, testing and tracing infrastructure, the disproportionate effect on ethnic minority people, and international co-operation.
They said Number 10 must get ‘ahead of the curve’ before the virus rebounds and focus on areas of weakness that could be improved while it is in retreat.
The letter comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday announced that the majority of remaining lockdown rules will be lifted on July 4 with social distancing continuing.
It was also revealed today that all over-50s in Britain could get the flu jab on the NHS this winter, under plans reportedly being considered by ministers to cope with a second wave of Covid-19.
Government advisers have already recommended that Number 10 contemplate vaccinating the ‘entire population’ against flu in an effort to free up hospital beds.
Insiders now say Downing St is planning to buy 10million extra doses for over-50s — but have warned delivering the jabs could be a logistical nightmare.
One source claimed expanding the scheme could involve Britons getting vaccinated in car parks and at drive-through centres — the same way coronavirus testing is done.
Leading scientists fear the coronavirus could wreak havoc on the health service if it returns this winter, striking alongside the flu when hospitals are already swamped.
Free flu jabs are usually reserved for over-65s, pregnant women, primary school children and people with serious illnesses like asthma or heart or kidney disease.
Separate data analysis published last night revealed more than half of people waiting for NHS tests in England had been waiting for six weeks or more by April.
The Labour Party’s analysis found 470,000 people have been waiting a month-and-a-half or more for potentially life-saving scans and tests.
It is calling for weekly testing of all NHS staff so the health service can get back on its feet and clear the massive backlog of sick patients waiting to be diagnosed and treated.
In February just 2.8 per cent of people booked in for tests had to wait for six weeks, but this had soared to 55 per cent by April because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
These patients include people waiting for MRI or CT scans, ultrasounds, audiology (hearing) appointments, colonoscopies or heart, brain or lung tests.
Health bosses warned earlier this month that the surgery waiting list, growing because routine operations were cancelled during the Covid-19 crisis, could soar to 10million people by Christmas, with surgeons warning of a ‘significant backlog’.