UK Coronavirus Death Toll Hits 100,000 After 1,631 More Deaths Recorded In 24 Hours
The number of total deaths from coronavirus has hit 100,000 in the UK (PA)
A grim milestone has been passed in the coronavirus pandemic as more than 100,000 in the UK have died after testing positive for Covid-19.
On Tuesday 1,631 coronavirus deaths were recorded, up from 592 on Monday, taking the total to 100,162.
"This is a sobering moment in the pandemic," medical director for Public Health England, Yvonne Doyle said. "Each death is a person who was someone's family member and friend."
After early measures to control the virus were introduced in March, Sir Patrick Vallance, the government's chief scientific adviser, told the health select committee it would be a “good result” if the number of UK deaths was kept below 20,000.
The UK is only the fifth country to record more than 100,000 deaths and the first in Europe after a second wave of the virus this winter caused a huge surge in cases and hospitalisations.
But while the latest lockdown appears to be having an impact on the rate of new infections in the UK, the lag time between people becoming infected and dying means the daily death toll has remained high throughout January.
The true number of deaths linked to Covid-19 is already believed to be much higher than 100,000, after the Office for National Statistics said this morning the number of deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate had hit 108,804 by January 15.
The government’s official total records deaths slightly differently, by whether the person passed away within 28 days of positive test for coronavirus.
The UK’s total is part of a global figure of more than two million deaths from Covid-19, with the US recording the greatest total of 417, 289. Brazil has recorded 217,037 deaths, India 153,624 and Mexico 150,273.
There have been 100 million total cases worldwide, with 3.7 million of them from the UK. The US has recorded the most, with more than 25 million infections, and India the second highest with over 10 million.
But because the UK has a much smaller population than other nations with a high death toll, its rate of deaths is significantly higher, currently running at 145.9 fatalities per 100,000 people, compared to the US rate of 127.6. India’s death rate per 100,00 is as low as 11.3.
The only countries with a higher death rate than the UK are Belgium at 181 deaths per 100,000 people and Slovenia at 162.6. San Marino and Gibraltar also have higher death rates than the UK but their overall death totals are much smaller, with 128 deaths between them.
Of the 100,000 deaths in the UK since the first was recorded on 16 March 2020 around 30,000 of those have occurred in the past month as the new more transmissible variants of Covid spread around the country at the end of last year.
Most have been in older age groups, with nearly three-quarters of those dying aged over 75, although around 10,000 of those who have died were below 65.
Chris Hopson, of NHS Providers, which represents health service managers, described the milestone as a "tragedy".
He said: “Behind each death will be a story of sorrow and grief. We pay tribute, once again, to NHS and care staff who have done everything they can throughout the long months of this pandemic to avoid each one of these deaths and reduce patient harm.
"We won't know the true impact of Covid-19 for a long time to come because of its long-term effects - but, as well as the high death rate, it's particularly concerning that this virus has widened health inequalities and affected Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities disproportionately."
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: "This is a national tragedy and a terrible reminder of all that we have lost as a country.
"We must never become numb to these numbers or treat them as just statistics. Every death is a loved one, a friend, a neighbour, a partner or a colleague. It is an empty chair at the dinner table."
He added: "To all those that are mourning, we must promise to learn the lessons of what went wrong and build a more resilient country. That day will come and we will get there together.
"But for now we must remember those that we have lost and be vigilant in the national effort to stay at home, protect our NHS and vaccinate Britain."
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said: "The death of over 100,000 people with coronavirus is a dark day for our country.
“Loss on this scale can seem almost too great to get our heads around but we must never forget that each of these people has left behind family, friends and neighbours.”
He added: “If the loss of 100,000 people in this country is not a good enough reason to hold a public inquiry now, then the Prime Minister needs to take a long hard look in the mirror."