The UK has recorded the highest number of Covid deaths in more than a year – since February 17th 2021. The latest figures, which show deaths within 28 days of a positive test by the date recorded, saw a spike of 651 deaths on Tuesday (April 13).
It comes as the number of deaths, by 7-day average, is increasing across the nation. This is despite cases and hospital admissions continuing to fall up and down the UK.
According to the most up to date Covid data, available on the UK Government website, there were a total of 651 deaths recorded with 28 days of a positive test by the date recorded. However, the day before, Tuesday, 288 deaths were recorded. These numbers are higher than the number of deaths recorded within 28 days of a positive test by date of death.
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The last time figures peaked was more than a year ago, on February 17th 2021, when 738 deaths were recorded. It comes as gradually, the UK is seeing the number of deaths within four weeks of a positive test increase.
Since the start of the pandemic, at total of 21.8 million cases of coronavirus have been recorded across the UK. Since deaths started being recorded, 171, 396 deaths have been recorded.
Covid-19 infections have fallen across most of the UK, though levels in Wales remain at a record high. England has seen infections drop for the first time in six weeks, with 3.8 million people likely to have had coronavirus last week, or around one in 14. This is down from 4.1 million the previous week, or one in 13, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The news comes as a sixth coronavirus vaccine was approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The independent medicines regulator is the first in the world to approve the jab, developed by Valneva.
The approval of the jab comes as the number of coronavirus-related deaths registered each week in England and Wales continues to rise. However, levels are still well below those reached during previous waves of the virus.
According to the NHS Confederation, the very high rates of Covid-19 infections are having a “major impact” on the health service, which is facing pressures it would see in a “bad winter” well into spring. But Downing Street has rejected the call to reintroduce greater mask-wearing and a push to encourage mixing outdoors.
Health leaders also warned that the NHS is facing the same pressure this spring as it would during a “bad winter”. Very high rates of coronavirus infections are having a “major impact” and leading to both more patients and staff absences.
The NHS Confederation urged the government to reconsider its Living with Covid plan as it fears the messaging to the public could “mislead and discourage them to take steps to reduce transmission, contributing to the very high rates of Covid -19.” It said that ministers risk “abandoning” the NHS if they do not take action.