UK’s coronavirus death toll jumps by record-high 854 in a day with 6,227 known victims
- England records 758 more deaths, along with 74 in Scotland, 19 in Wales and 3 in Northern Ireland
- Yesterday’s statistics had been the lowest for a week and a two-day decline, a glimmer of hope
- But a surge today suggests the country may have to wait longer for evidence the outbreak is slowing down
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in intensive care at St Thomas’ Hospital in central London
- The PM is in a stable condition, his spokesperson said, does not have pneumonia and is breathing on his own
A record high 854 coronavirus deaths have been announced in the UK today, taking the total to 6,227.
NHS England has confirmed 758 people have died, with authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland announcing a further 96 between them.
Patients in England were aged between 23 and 102 years old, and 29 of them – aged between 23 and 99 – had no known underlying health conditions.
Scotland revealed 74 more deaths had been recorded in the past 24 hours, along with 19 in Wales and three in Northern Ireland.
The death toll is almost double the 437 announced yesterday and marks a new low for Britain in its battle against the epidemic. Scientists have, in recent weeks, predicted that the peak of the outbreak would come at Easter, suggesting the nation is in for a turbulent seven days.
Today’s statistics come as Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in intensive care in St Thomas’ Hospital in London after being transferred there last night. His spokesman says, however, that he is in good spirits and breathing on his own.
In other news in the UK’s ongoing coronavirus crisis:
- The Queen has sent a message to Boris Johnson’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds, and the Johnson family, saying they were in her thoughts and that she wished the Prime Minister a ‘full and speedy recovery’;
- Aides to Cabinet minister Michael Gove said he was following the official guidance by going into quarantine for 14 days because someone in his family was ill, but he would continue working;
- 10 Downing Street’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, is still working from home after entering self-isolation shortly after Mr Johnson did;
- World leaders and politicians around the globe rallied around Mr Johnson, who received well wishers from David Cameron, Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump;
- Health experts have warned that the PM’s admission to intensive care means he is ‘extremely sick’ and he is ‘likely’ to end up needing a ventilator;
- A statistical projection by the University of Washington suggests the UK could become the worst-hit country in Europe, with 66,000 people dying, because it doesn’t have enough intensive care beds;
- Research by University College London said closing schools would have a limited impact on the spread of the virus, but government adviser Professor Neil Ferguson rubbished the claim.
Although the surge in the number of deaths recorded today is a drastic rise on those which emerged yesterday, a delay in recording data could be to blame.
As the numbers of people dying has increased, so too have the numbers of past deaths which are being rolled into each day’s daily count.
Some of the fatalities announced each day actually happened 10 days ago or more but had not been recorded earlier because of paperwork delays.
And deaths being announced today are likely from patients who were infected weeks ago, meaning they do not indicate that the virus is spreading faster than it was.
In Spain, officials have admitted that deaths tend to build up over the weekend, get missed from statistics released on Monday, and then surge later in the week.
Figures in the UK show that death numbers tend to dip on Mondays before a spike on Tuesday. Last week, however, the number continued to rise all week from Tuesday onwards.
Spain’s deputy emergency health director, Maria Jose Sierra, insisted Spain was still on the right track despite a rise in the number of deaths and new infections today.
She blamed the increase on an accumulation of cases which had not been reported from the weekend. It is not clear whether the same thing is happening in the UK.
Ms Sierra said: ‘This is due to the weekend adjustment. It is still a downwards tendency.’
Medical staff are pictured in ambulances outside St Thomas’ Hospital in London, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson is being treated
UK ‘COULD BECOME WORST-HIT NATION IN EUROPE’
Britain could suffer more than 60,000 coronavirus deaths and be hit harder by the the outbreak than any nation in Europe, leading scientists say.
Modelling by researchers at the University of Washington predicted 151,680 people would succumb to the virus across the continent.
It found the UK could record 66,300 COVID-19 deaths by July – almost half (44 per cent) of the entire fatalities in Europe and three times more than Italy (20,000).
Spain (19,000) and France (15,000) will also record huge losses, according to the prediction, which is largely based on intensive care and hospital bed capacity.
The researchers forecast Britain will need 100,000 beds by mid-April to cope with the crisis, compared to the 17,765 currently available.
But the alarming projection does not take into account the thousands of beds that will become available at the new NHS Nightingale hospitals.
The number is also in stark contrast to predictions by the UK’s leading scientific advisers, who warned around 20,000 people will die during the crisis.
In brighter news for Britain this afternoon, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesperson has confirmed he is still in a stable condition and breathing on his own.
The premier was taken into intensive care in Westminster last night at around 7pm because his fever had lasted for more than 10 days.
His spokesperson says he is still ‘in good spirits’ and his having ‘standard oxygen therapy’, which is believed to be mild therapy via a mask or nasal tube.
He has not been diagnosed with pneumonia, Downing Street confirmed.
The 55-year-old’s spokesman said today: ‘The Prime Minister has been stable overnight and remains in good spirits.
‘He is receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any other assistance. He has not required mechanical ventilation or non-invasive respiratory support.’
In a round of broadcast interviews this morning, Cabinet minister Michael Gove played down concerns that the Government will be paralysed with the leader out of action, insisting that Mr Johnson had already been on a ‘stripped back diary’ for days and ‘Cabinet is the supreme decision making body’,
However, within hours it had emerged that Mr Gove himself had also been impacted by coronavirus, as he has gone into self-isolation following a family member displaying symptoms.