England today posted another 16 coronavirus deaths in its official daily death count, while no new victims were registered in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
Today’s fatality toll — announced by the Department of Health — is higher than the four recorded yesterday and the 12 last Tuesday. NHS England said one of the victims was under the age of 40.
Officials also confirmed another 1,184 people were diagnosed with Covid-19, pushing the daily average number of infections up for the fourth day in a row, from 1,043 to 1,056. There have now been more than 1,000 daily cases on 13 separate occasions in August.
It comes as separate government figures today revealed more people are dying than expected in England and Wales for the first time in two months. Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed 9,392 fatalities were recorded between August 8 and August 14 – around 300 more than average for that time of year.
But experts have blamed Britain’s 10-day heatwave, which saw temperatures soar to 96°F (35.7°C), for the spike in deaths because the number of Covid-19 victims dropped once again.
Only 139 deaths were blamed on the coronavirus over the seven-day spell, the lowest weekly toll since before the lockdown was imposed on March 23. For comparison, deaths from flu and pneumonia were seven times as common – with the illnesses mentioned on 1,002 death certificates during the same week.
In other coronavirus developments in Britain today:
- Bars and restaurants in Birmingham which flout social distancing rules will be closed after the Government rubber-stamped new powers to stop the spread of coronavirus in the city;
- Boris Johnson is under mounting pressure to scrap Number 10’s blanket travel quarantine policy as a group of 80 MPs urged the Prime Minister to back airport testing;
- Switzerland could be added to the UK’s quarantine travel list this weekend after a surge in coronavirus cases, with its infection rate now above the threshold of 20 cases per 100,000 people;
- Boris Johnson appeared to lay the groundwork for a humiliating U-turn on pupils wearing face masks in school as he said ‘if we need to change the advice then of course we will’.
HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE REALLY DIED FROM COVID-19 IN THE UK?
Department of Health (no cut-off): 47,353
The daily Department of Health 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 have ever tested positive for the virus, as opposed to deaths suspected to be down to the coronavirus.
The method came under scrutiny because it meant someone who once had Covid-19 and then recovered would be counted, even if they were hit by a bus or were in a car crash months later.
Department of Health (28-day cut off): 41,433
If someone died 28 days after testing positive for Covid-19, they wouldn’t be classed as a coronavirus death under this measure. This means that many victims who recovered and died of unrelated causes are not included.
Public Health England (60-day cut off): 45,240
This method will count a Covid-19 death as anyone who died with in 60 days of a positive result.
It leaves room for those who may have died several weeks after getting infected, considering some patients may be in hospital for a long time before they eventually die of the disease.
However, it also means some people who tested positive for the virus, recovered, and then died a while later of different causes will be picked up.
Public Health England said the 60-day cut off is better than 28 days because some patients suffer long term Covid-19 symptoms after appearing to recover, and cannot be missed out from the tally if they do not die in the immediate month after their diagnosis.
National statistical bodies: 57,167
Data compiled by the statistical bodies of each of the home nations show 57,167 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 52,091 people in England and Wales died with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 by August 14.
The number of coronavirus deaths was 863 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 4,213 people had died across the country by August 9.
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: 65,278
Excess deaths are considered to be a more 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 15 and June 12, as well as 4,953 in Scotland between March 2 and June 22 and 1,001 in Northern Ireland between March 28 and June 26.
The ONS said: ‘The rise in deaths coincided with high temperatures in England and Wales, and heatwave warnings were issued by NHS England.
‘The increased number of deaths, and the rise above the five-year average, were likely due to the heatwave; the coronavirus did not drive the increase, as deaths involving Covid-19 continued to decrease.’
Thousands of Brits flocked to over-crowded beaches to enjoy the blistering heat during the UK’s 10 day heatwave, which saw the Met Office issue a level three heat alert.
Level three means the temperature has exceeded a ‘heat-health’ threshold and the weather outside is hot enough to be damaging to people’s health.
It acts as an early warning system to doctors and hospitals that people are more likely to need medical attention because of the sun.
Hot weather is dangerous because it causes dehydration, overheating and heatstroke, all of which are potentially deadly.
People who are very young, very old or have a weaker immune system or a long-term illness are most at risk of serious complications and dying in extreme weather, doctors say.
When people overheat or become seriously dehydrated they may become breathless, dizzy, weak or even start to lose consciousness or have a seizure.
For people who already have a heart or lung problem, for example, experts warn this could be enough to make them life-threateningly ill.
Temperatures soared across England in August and hit upwards of 95F (35C) in some places, with 35.7C recorded at Heathrow Airport in London on August 11.
It was one of the longest heatwaves on record, with temperatures exceeding 93.2F (34C) for six days in a row for the first time since records began in the 1960s.
But the heat in southern England brought with it tremendous thunder and hail storms in western and northern parts of the UK — with floods seen early on across Lancashire and Wales.
ONS data — which uses death certificates to take into account confirmed and suspected deaths — shows fatalities from all causes started to drop off in mid-June, after Britain fought off the worst of the Covid-19 crisis.
During the darkest fortnight of the outbreak – between April 11 and 24 – more than 23,000 ‘excess deaths’ were recorded, with the coronavirus blamed for the majority.
However, experts warned 6,000 of the deaths not put down to Covid-19 could have been in patients who did have the life-threatening illness but were just never tested, such as those who died at home.
ONS figures show just 139 deaths registered in England and Wales in the most recent week — ending August 14 — were down to coronavirus, the equivalent of 1.5 per cent of all victims.
This is the lowest toll since the seven-day spell that ended March 20, when just 103 fatalities were recorded.
It is down from the 152 registered the week before last, and marks another fall in the weekly death count, which has fallen in every week since mid-April.
Only one of the new coronavirus deaths in England and Wales was in someone under the age of 35. Around 63 per cent were over the age of 80, statistics show.
Geographical analysis of the deaths also showed that London was the only region to witness an increase in Covid-19 fatalities, from eight the week before to 18.
The South West suffered a small spike (two to four), as did the West Midlands (13 to 14). But the rest of England and Wales all recorded fewer victims than the week prior.
And all the regions except the West Midlands and Yorkshire and The Humber suffered more overall deaths than the five-year average.
The number of deaths in hospitals remained below the five-year average in the week ending August 14, while the number of deaths in private homes continued to be higher than the five-year average (812 more deaths); the number of deaths in care homes was above the five-year average (36 more deaths) for the first time since June 12.
Beachgoers made the most of the heat at Bournemouth in Dorset when temperatures pushed past 86°F (30°C) across Britain earlier this month
A group of people are pictured playing in the sea at Bournemouth beach in Dorset during the hot weather
WHICH AUTHORITIES HAVE RECORDED THE MOST COVID-19 DEATHS?
Cheshire West and Chester
WHICH AUTHORITIES HAVE RECORDED THE FEWEST COVID-19 DEATHS?
Isles of Scilly
City of London
Isle of Anglesey
North East Lincolnshire
Deaths being announced each day by the Department of Health have tumbled recently, too, with a total of four announced yesterday – three in England and one in Wales.
Coronavirus fatalities have all but come to an end in younger adults now, with just one death in someone under the age of 40 being confirmed in the past week.
And although the numbers of coronavirus cases is rising again there is no evidence of this leading to more people ending up in hospital or dying, as had been feared.
Experts suggest that cases are now being picked up more often in younger people, who almost never die of the disease, and that hospitals are now better at treating Covid-19 than they were at the start of the pandemic.
The most up-to-date government coronavirus death toll — released this afternoon — stood at 41,449. It takes into account victims who have died within 28 days of testing positive.
Ministers earlier this month scrapped the original fatality count because of concerns it was inaccurate due to it not having a time cut-off, meaning no-one could ever technically recover in England.
More than 5,000 deaths were knocked off the original toll. The rolling average number of daily coronavirus deaths dropped drastically — from around 59 to fewer than ten.
The deaths 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.
And the figure does not always match updates provided by the home nations. Department of Health officials work off a different time cut-off, meaning daily updates from Scotland and Northern Ireland are out of sync.
The toll announced by NHS England every day, which only takes into account fatalities in hospitals, doesn’t 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’.
Department of Health officials also declare new Covid-19 cases every afternoon. Today they revealed another 1,184 Brits had tested positive for the life-threatening disease.
It means around 1,056 Britons are being diagnosed with the disease each day. For comparison, fewer than 550 cases were being recorded each day, on average, at the start of July.
The spike in cases — alongside a resurgence of the virus in Europe — prompted fears of a second wave. But top experts have insisted the rise is merely down to more testing in badly-hit areas.
|County Durham||708||Wyre Forest||116|
|Cheshire East||555||Welwyn Hatfield||113|
|Cheshire West and Chester||412||Wychavon||110|
|Sandwell||376||Vale of Glamorgan||106|
|Wiltshire||366||Hinckley and Bosworth||105|
|Kirklees||325||Neath Port Talbot||103|
|Salford||324||Telford and Wrekin||102|
|East Riding of Yorkshire||320||Amber Valley||102|
|Sefton||302||Blackburn with Darwen||97|
|Rhondda Cynon Taf||302||Fylde||96|
|Central Bedfordshire||279||South Ribble||93|
|Haringey||274||Bath and North East Somerset||92|
|Bristol, City of||253||Brentwood||89|
|Waltham Forest||252||Three Rivers||88|
|Newcastle upon Tyne||250||Chesterfield||86|
|Hounslow||238||Isle of Wight||84|
|Kingston upon Hull, City of||216||Epsom and Ewell||81|
|Stoke-on-Trent||203||Newark and Sherwood||78|
|Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole||189||Mid Suffolk||77|
|Epping Forest||184||Tonbridge and Malling||76|
|Reigate and Banstead||181||Harlow||75|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||171||Runnymede||73|
|Barking and Dagenham||167||Sedgemoor||69|
|Brighton and Hove||165||Arun||68|
|Nuneaton and Bedworth||163||North West Leicestershire||67|
|Thanet||161||Oadby and Wigston||64|
|East Staffordshire||159||Blaenau Gwent||64|
|Richmond upon Thames||153||Worcester||63|
|North Somerset||151||South Cambridgeshire||61|
|Folkestone and Hythe||148||Babergh||59|
|North East Derbyshire||144||Gosport||58|
|King’s Lynn and West Norfolk||142||South Somerset||58|
|Redcar and Cleveland||134||Corby||50|
|Dover||133||Forest of Dean||48|
|West Berkshire||132||Somerset West and Taunton||48|
|Kingston upon Thames||132||North Kesteven||46|
|Windsor and Maidenhead||131||Selby||46|
|Herefordshire, County of||127||Adur||40|
|Ipswich||127||North East Lincolnshire||35|
|Kensington and Chelsea||127||Maldon||35|
|Watford||125||Isle of Anglesey||34|
|Vale of White Horse||123||Lincoln||28|
|Test Valley||119||West Devon||17|
|West Lancashire||119||South Hams||12|
|Basingstoke and Deane||117||City of London||4|
|Maidstone||117||Isles of Scilly||0|