Public Health England said a further 1,610 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday. It came as new data revealed one in eight people are likely to have had the virus in England.
The number of daily coronavirus deaths will not see a substantial fall for weeks yet, according to a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).
Professor Andrew Hayward, who is also director of the University College London (UCL) Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, told the BBC he thinks the death rate will lessen partly due to the fact infections are falling more slowly among vulnerable older people than among younger people.
“I think it’s really bleak news. We have one of the worst coronavirus problems in the world at the moment,” he said, as the UK reported the highest number of daily deaths since the pandemic started.
The new death record brings the total who have died after contracting Covid-19 in the UK to 91,470.
However, the true number has already passed the 108,000 mark, when cases where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate are taken into account.
After the latest death figures were revealed, Labour shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth tweeted: “Awful. Horrific. Devastating. And it didn’t have to be like this.”
Dr Yvonne Doyle, PHE’s medical director, said the country should be braced for further deaths and urged people to keep to the current social restrictions.
“Each death is a tragedy and the number of Covid-19 related deaths within 28 days of a positive test will continue for some time throughout this second wave,” she said.
“Whilst there are some early signs that show our sacrifices are working, we must continue to strictly abide by the measures in place. By reducing our contacts and staying at home we will see a fall in the number of infections over time.”
The government also said as of 9am on Tuesday there had been a further 33,355 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, bringing the total to just under 3.5 million.