Covid deaths will only get worse, warn experts – as daily toll hits grim record high
20th January 2021

CORONAVIRUS deaths will only get worse in the coming days despite a fall in cases and the vaccine rollout, experts have warned.

The UK yesterday recorded the highest daily death toll since the pandemic began after a staggering 1,610 deaths were reported.

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Officials have now warned that further “record breaking days” could be on the cards due to the lag between people becoming infected and people being admitted to hospital.

Data from Public Health England (PHE) shows that across the country 96 per cent of local authorities have seen a drop in infection rates, with just four per cent seeing a rise.

Experts say the lockdown measures alongside the vaccine rollout are starting to take effect but that deaths wont drop until the end of the month.

Dr Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton said: "The lockdown is starting to show an effect on new cases per day.

"However, a proportion of the cases from early January will be admitted to hospital approximately this week, and deaths from those cases will likely peak around the end of this month.

"Therefore, we will alas see several more 'record-breaking' days in terms of newly-reported deaths.

"Over the coming weeks, the combination of the lockdown and the impact of the vaccine rollout will start to translate into a reduction of severe Covid-19 cases."

 

A further 33,355 new coronavirus infections were recorded yesterday.

Official statistics now show that 3,466,849 people have caught the virus in Britain since the pandemic began last year.

And the total death toll has now reached a tragic 91,470, data from PHE shows.

Data from the government's coronavirus dashboard shows that there are currently 37,946 patients in hospital with the coronavirus across the country.

Of those in hospital, 3,916 are on ventilators.

Separate data from the Office for National Statistics shows that there have been 108,000 deaths involving the virus in the UK.

These figures are measured by looking at where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate – along with deaths that have occurred in recent days.

PHE medical director Dr Yvonne Doyle echoed Dr Head’s comments and said coronavirus-related deaths would "continue for some time throughout this second wave".

"Whilst there are some early signs that show our sacrifices are working, we must continue to strictly abide by the measures in place," she said.

"By reducing our contacts and staying at home we will see a fall in the number of infections over time."

VACCINE HOPE

Over four million coronavirus vaccines have now been rolled out to the most vulnerable in the UK.

The Pfizer/BioNTech jab and the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab continue to be given to Brits at mass vaccine centres and pharmacies up and down the country.

But the most up to date figures show that the number of people getting the jab has dropped off in recent days.

On Friday more than 324,000 people got the jab, compared to on Monday when 204,000 received them.

Asel Sartbaeva, a vaccine specialist from the University of Bath, said there was a "big problem" with delivery.

This she said was due in part to a shortage of the equipment needed to store the vaccines at low temperatures – down to minus 70C in the case of the Pfizer vaccine.

Speaking to BBC2’s Newsnight programme she said the Government had failed to take advantage of equipment in university laboratories or equipment that was normally used for transporting food.

"The Government is not thinking laterally and that is not using the equipment that is available at the moment because of the lockdown and could be used for this.”

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