News, Culture & Society

Coronavirus UK: 6 new fatalities in preliminary daily death toll

Britain today recorded just six coronavirus deaths in the preliminary toll — taking the official number of victims to 45,306.

Department of Health chiefs have yet to confirm the final daily figure, which is often higher because it takes into account laboratory-confirmed fatalities in all settings.

The early count — which only includes a fraction of the Covid-19 deaths in England — is calculated by adding up updates declared by each of the home nations.

NHS England today registered six deaths among patients who tested positive for the infection in hospitals across the country. Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales announced no new victims. 

For comparison, 27 deaths were recorded across the UK yesterday and just 11 were posted this time last week. But counts on Sundays and Mondays are always lower because of a recording lag at weekends.

Government figures show the rolling average of daily deaths now stands at 69, having dropped into double figures on July 4. More than 1,000 Brits were dying each day during the darkest days of the crisis in April.

The figures — under review amid claims officials are over-exaggerating the daily toll — are no longer published on the Department of Health’s daily report. Instead, they appear on the government’s dashboard.

Matt Hancock ordered an investigation after academics revealed people are counted as victims if they die of any cause any time after testing positive for Covid-19 – even if they were hit by a bus months after beating the virus.

In other coronavirus developments in Britain today:

  • Ministers have signed deals with two foreign pharmaceutical firms for 90million doses of different Covid-19 vaccines — on top of the 100million doses of the Oxford University jab they have already bought;
  • Campaigners have warned bureaucratic backlogs caused by the lockdown are paralysing the country, with travellers waiting more than four months for passports to be processed;
  • A second wave of coronavirus will cause more suffering than the first if Britons don’t stick to social distancing and wear face masks, the UK’s top doctors have cautioned; 
  • More than 200,000 people could die because of delays in healthcare and other economic and social effects all caused by lockdown, a government report warned;
  • Boris Johnson came under increasing fire from leading scientists for appearing to rule out another nationwide coronavirus lockdown, even if there is a second peak of deaths in the winter.

A further 27 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in Britain today, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths during the pandemic to 45,300 

BORIS JOHNSON ADMITS HE ISN’T CONFIDENT THE UK WILL GET A COVID-19 VACCINE BY THE END OF 2021 

Speaking in a television interview this morning the Prime Minister said he has his 'fingers crossed' but isn't 100 per cent confident that a coronavirus vaccine will be found

Speaking in a television interview this morning the Prime Minister said he has his ‘fingers crossed’ but isn’t 100 per cent confident that a coronavirus vaccine will be found

Boris Johnson today admitted there may not even be a coronavirus vaccine ready by the end of next year, scuppering hopes that one would be ready to be rolled-out in September. 

The Prime Minister claimed he has his ‘fingers crossed’ that a jab is eventually found but admitted he isn’t 100 per cent confident one will be proven to work and warned we ‘can’t count in it riding over the hill like the cavalry’.

Britain must keep following social distancing, washing their hands and wearing masks in confined spaces to ‘drive the virus down by our own collective action’, Mr Johnson said.

His comments come as ministers today announced deals with two foreign pharmaceutical firms to buy 90million doses of separate experimental vaccine candidates.

UK officials are now taking a spread-betting approach to vaccines, buying up stocks of various untested ones that they think could work, in the hope that one or more of them will pay off. 

Agreement has been reached for 30million doses from German firm BioNTech and the US company Pfizer, and 60million doses from France’s Valneva.

The figure is in addition to the 100million doses of vaccine that are being developed by Oxford University in partnership with AstraZeneca, as well as another at Imperial College London which started human trials in June.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said the new agreements would ‘ensure the UK has the best chance possible of securing a vaccine that protects those most at risk’.

Department of Health figures released yesterday showed 140,000 tests were carried out or posted the day before. 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 726 more people had tested positive for Covid-19. Government data shows the official size of the UK’s outbreak now stands at 294,792 cases. 

But the actual size of the outbreak, which began to spiral out of control in March, is estimated to be in the millions, based on antibody testing data.

It means the rolling average of daily cases dropped to 621 — 4 per cent higher than the mean of 598 recorded last Sunday. The average has risen for three days in a row.

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. Department of Health officials work off a different time cut-off, meaning daily updates from Scotland as well as Northern Ireland are always out of sync.

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’. 

Government figures show the rolling seven-day average of daily deaths now stands at 69 — an 18 per cent drop on the mean of 84 last Sunday.

It comes as Boris Johnson today admitted there may not even be a coronavirus vaccine ready by the end of next year, scuppering hopes that one would be ready to be rolled-out in September.

The Prime Minister claimed he has his ‘fingers crossed’ that a jab is eventually found but admitted he isn’t 100 per cent confident one will be proven to work and warned we ‘can’t count in it riding over the hill like the cavalry’.

Britain must keep following social distancing, washing their hands and wearing masks in confined spaces to ‘drive the virus down by our own collective action’, Mr Johnson said.

His comments come as ministers today announced deals with two foreign pharmaceutical firms to buy 90million doses of separate experimental vaccine candidates.

UK officials are now taking a spread-betting approach to vaccines, buying up stocks of various untested ones that they think could work, in the hope that one or more of them will pay off.

Agreement has been reached for 30million doses from German firm BioNTech and the US company Pfizer, and 60million doses from France’s Valneva.

Spain has seen an increase in cases in recent weeks after lifting one of the world's strictest lockdowns. Spain said on Friday that it had identified 5,695 new cases in the previous seven days, a sharp increase from 2,944 a week earlier.

Spain has seen an increase in cases in recent weeks after lifting one of the world’s strictest lockdowns. Spain said on Friday that it had identified 5,695 new cases in the previous seven days, a sharp increase from 2,944 a week earlier.

France has also seen fluctuating figures after choosing not to release figures at weekends, like Spain

France has also seen fluctuating figures after choosing not to release figures at weekends, like Spain 

COSTA DEL VIRUS: SPAIN HIT BY 200 OUTBREAKS AND FRANCE HAS ‘500 ACTIVE CLUSTERS’

Spain has suffered at least 200 coronavirus outbreaks since it lifted the lockdown while France today revealed it has up to 500 active ‘clusters’ of the disease.

Fears of a second wave are growing in Spain after it identified 5,695 new cases last week, a sharp increase from 2,944 a week earlier, while some areas have been forced to re-impose lockdown measures just as British tourists start to arrive again.

A beach in Barcelona, a wedding in Tudela and a Red Cross centre in Malaga are among the places where new clusters have been found in recent weeks, leaving health officials scrambling to carry out mass tests.

Dinner parties, sports events and a summer language school have also been affected by virus outbreaks in a setback to Spain’s efforts to resume normal life after one of the world’s strictest lockdowns.

Local authorities have been given powers to take emergency measures such as closing beaches and imposing curfews if necessary.

Meanwhile, French health minister Olivier Veran insisted today that ‘we are very far from a second wave’ despite an estimated 400 to 500 active clusters, and an R rate of 1.2 in France and 1.55 in the region including Marseille and Nice.

The figure is in addition to the 100million doses of a jab being developed by Oxford University in partnership with AstraZeneca, as well as another at Imperial College London which started human trials in June.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said the new agreements would ‘ensure the UK has the best chance possible of securing a vaccine that protects those most at risk’.

But the government’s vaccine tsar today scuppered hopes of Oxford’s vaccine — one of the front-runners in the world’s race against time for a jab — being ready for September.

Oxford scientists have already said they are ’80 per cent’ confident they can have their jab available for the autumn.

Kate Bingham, chair of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce, revealed she was still ‘hopeful’ it would be ready by the end of 2020 but admitted that academics are unlikely to get enough data to prove it works until the end of the year.

Results of the first wave of trials of the Oxford jab are set to be published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet today. But the results will not prove it can save lives, meaning it won’t be licensed and rolled-out yet.

The Prime Minister came under increasing fire from leading scientists today for appearing to rule out another nationwide coronavirus lockdown, even if there is a second peak of deaths in the winter.

Mr Johnson was accused of ‘painting himself into a corner’ after he said he ‘certainly’ does not want to impose draconian restrictions again, amid warnings of a further spike in cases in coming months.

He used a newspaper interview to compare the ‘tool’ of national lockdown to the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent which he does not want to ever have to use.

Mr Johnson has already clashed with chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance over the need for a new lockdown and whether the public should be returning to work in offices and other workplaces across the country.

And today, Devi Sridhar, professor of public health at Edinburgh University and a Covid-19 adviser to the Scottish government, told The Times: ‘I fear he is painting himself into a corner.

‘Unless the virus is effectively eliminated and strict border checks are in place, there is always the possibility that the virus will increase spreading, especially in the winter months.’

The government also came under fire today over its ‘illogical’ advice on face coverings, with scientists urging ministers to make them compulsory at work as well as on public transport.

Elsewhere, Spain has suffered at least 200 coronavirus outbreaks since it lifted the lockdown while France today revealed it has up to 500 active ‘clusters’ of the disease.

Fears of a second wave are growing in Spain after it identified 5,695 new cases last week, a sharp increase from 2,944 a week earlier, while some areas have been forced to re-impose lockdown measures just as British tourists start to arrive again.

A beach in Barcelona, a wedding in Tudela and a Red Cross centre in Malaga are among the places where new clusters have been found in recent weeks, leaving health officials scrambling to carry out mass tests.

Dinner parties, sports events and a summer language school have also been affected by virus outbreaks in a setback to Spain’s efforts to resume normal life after one of the world’s strictest lockdowns.

Local authorities have been given powers to take emergency measures such as closing beaches and imposing curfews if necessary.

Meanwhile, French health minister Olivier Veran insisted today that ‘we are very far from a second wave’ despite an estimated 400 to 500 active clusters, and an R rate of 1.2 in France and 1.55 in the region including Marseille and Nice. 

HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE REALLY DIED OF THE CORONAVIRUS IN THE UK?

Department of Health: 45,300

Department of Health’s latest death count for all settings (as of 9am, July 15) stands at 45,300.

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: 55,216

Data compiled by the statistical bodies of each of the home nations show 55,216 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 50,219 people in England and Wales died with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 by June 19.

The number of coronavirus deaths was 824 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 4,173 people had died across the country by June 22.

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: 65,249

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 15 and June 12, as well as 4,924 in Scotland between March 10 and June 22 and 1,001 in Northern Ireland between March 28 and June 26. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk