More than 4,000 people have died of coronavirus in the UK since the start of the second wave, which experts say is now at a “critical stage” with infections doubling every nine days.
This week, the daily Covid-19 death toll topped 350, meaning the UK has shot past an earlier warning by chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance that the country could see 200 coronavirus deaths a day by mid-November.
In the week between July 27 and August 2, daily deaths from Covid-19 in England did not go above 10. During that period, Scotland and Northern Ireland recorded no deaths, and Wales saw 17 during the entire week.
At the point of August 2, the UK had recorded a total death toll from Covid-19 of 41,276.
Latest figures published Wednesday show the total death count at 45,604, meaning 4,328 people have died since that week.
On Tuesday, the UK’s daily coronavirus death toll reached 367 – the first time the number had topped 350 since May.
Of those deaths, 322 were recorded in England, 25 in Scotland, seven in Wales and 13 in Northern Ireland.
Deaths are rising across all age groups as well, with figures from October 22 showing that, out of the total 139 people who died in hospital after testing positive for Covid-19, 82 were above the age of 80 years, and 47 were between 60 and 79.
Nine people between the ages of 40 and 59 died in hospital in England that day, and one person aged between 0 to 39.
Back in September, the UK’s chief scientific adviser warned there could be 200 Covid-19 deaths a day by mid-November if the rate of infection was not halted.
Speaking at a public briefing in Downing Street, he said: “At the moment we think the epidemic is doubling roughly every seven days.
“If, and that’s quite a big if, but if that continues unabated and this grows doubling every seven days [...] if that continued you would end up with something like 50,000 cases in the middle of October per day.
“Fifty thousand cases per day would be expected to lead a month later, so the middle of November, say, to 200-plus deaths per day.”
At the time, Vallance was ridiculed for his “implausible” claim that the UK was on course for 200 deaths a day by mid-November, with some claiming he had based his projections on “misused” data.
One Nottingham university professor even suggested the figures may warrant investigation from the Office for Statistics Regulation.
But on October 20 the UK soared past that grim milestone when the country recorded 241.
On Wednesday, the UK’s coronavirus death toll exceeded 300 for the second day in a row, as the government’s own scientific advisers warned the coronavirus death toll could remain high throughout winter.
The news comes as experts warn the second wave of Covid-19 has reached a “critical stage”, with infections doubling approximately every nine days.
A study by Imperial College London shows a national reproduction number (R) estimated at 1.56, compared to 1.16 in the previous round.
“The co-occurrence of high prevalence and rapid growth means that the second wave of the epidemic in England has now reached a critical stage,” the study warns.
“Whether via regional or national measures, it is now time-critical to control the virus and turn R below 1 if further hospital admissions and deaths from Covid-19 are to be avoided.”