UK announces 16 more coronavirus deaths: Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland record zero victims for second day running but SAGE warns the R rate has risen to dreaded number 1 in England
- NHS England revealed that all victims had died in its hospitals, while other home nations suffered no deaths
- The preliminary total does not account for fatalities in care homes or in the community in England
- Official tally announced later today by Department of Health likely higher as it includes deaths in all settings
Another 16 people were today confirmed to have died of Covid-19 in the UK, as SAGE admitted the reproduction rate of the virus has risen to the dreaded number of one in all regions of England.
The preliminary daily death toll is calculated by adding up the deaths announced by all of the home nations – but it does not account for fatalities in care homes or in the community in England. The official tally announced later today by the Department of Health will likely be higher because it includes Covid-19 deaths in all settings.
NHS England revealed that all of today’s victims had died in its hospitals, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all recording zero fatalities for the second day running. It takes the UK’s total number of victims to 45,570.
Today also marked the ninth day in a row that no deaths have been recorded in Scotland, with experts now predicting the country will be the first in the UK to be virus-free by the end of summer.
But the R rate – the average number of people each coronavirus patients infects – has risen to between 0.8 and one in all regions of England for the first time since lockdown was lifted. The R needs to stay below one to prevent future outbreaks from spiralling out of control.
It doesn’t necessarily mean England is on the brink of another crisis, however, because scientists say when case numbers are as low as they are, the R becomes more volatile and small clusters can skew the rate upwards.
It comes as separate data released today suggested the coronavirus outbreak in England may be growing because an additional 1,000 people are catching the disease every day compared to last week.
Office for National Statistics figures based on population testing estimate that daily infections have risen from 1,700 to 2,800 in the space of seven days.
The ONS data suggests one in 2,000 people across the country were carrying Covid-19 within the most recent week up to July 19 – a total of 27,700 people or 0.05 per cent of the population.
This figure has crept up from the estimated 0.04 per cent (24,000) thought to be infected last week and the 0.03 per cent (14,000) the week before.
The ONS has stopped short of saying the crisis is growing because all three estimates are based on complex trend models and fall within a possible range.
But statisticians behind the report say the week-on-week rises for sure indicate that the epidemic’s decline has ‘now levelled off’.
ONS data is considered to be some of the most accurate available – this week’s update was based on the results of 114,674 swab tests taken over six weeks, of which 45 were positive.
It does not include infections in care homes – but official Government data for diagnosed cases of Covid-19 across all settings shows figures have climbed 10 per cent since last week.
The data comes three weeks after the largest lockdown restrictions were lifted on ‘Super Saturday’ – July 4 – and ahead of a further relaxation tomorrow, when gyms and leisure centres are opened.
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