Health

Coronavirus UK: 126 new fatalities in preliminary death toll


Britain today recorded 126 more Covid-19 deaths as the outbreak continues to fizzle out with the average number of fatalities having plummeted by a quarter in the space of a week.

Government figures show the rolling average of deaths now stands at 87 — 26 per cent lower than the figure of 118 registered last Wednesday, which was marginally higher than the same day the week before. 

For comparison, 155 coronavirus deaths were recorded in all settings yesterday and 176 were registered across the UK last Wednesday. 

Northern Ireland today declared no more fatalities for the sixth day in a row while the South West of England also posted zero victims, proving the darkest days of Britain’s first wave are definitely over. 

Department of Health officials say the laboratory-confirmed death toll now stands at 44,517 — but separate grim statistics show the actual death toll passed the grisly 50,000 mark at the start of June.   

Other promising figures showed 630 more cases of Covid-19 were diagnosed, meaning the daily average has now dropped to 546 — 39 per cent lower than it was last Wednesday.

It comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak today unveiled free £10 ‘eat-out’ vouchers and slashed VAT to 5 per cent for the hospitality industry in a £30billion package to save jobs. 

The package to bail out the stricken UK economy included a £1,000 bonus for every employee not fired when the furlough scheme ends and a stamp duty threshold cut to £500,000. 

In other coronavirus developments Britain today:

  • The Hillingdon Hospital in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s constituency closed to emergency admissions because of an outbreak of coronavirus with up to 70 staff currently self-isolating;
  • World Health Organization scientists have now admitted there is ‘evidence emerging’ that the coronavirus can be spread through the air as fears of airborne transmission continue to mount;
  • Number 10’s scientific advisory panel SAGE will see its role in the coronavirus crisis downgraded with the nation’s new Joint Biosecurity Centre tasked with doing more of the heavy lifting, it was claimed.

RISHI SUNAK’S ‘MINI-BUDGET’ PACKAGE AT A GLANCE 

  • Stamp duty threshold will increase from £125,000 to between £300,000 and £500,000 for six months to boost housing market;
  • A radical plan to pay the wages of up to 300,000 young people on Universal Credit if businesses agree to take them on for at least six months;
  • A £2billion scheme to subsidise home insulation and other environmental upgrades that ministers hope will support more than 100,000 jobs;
  • A temporary cut in VAT which is expected to be focused on struggling sectors like hospitality;
  • Schools, hospitals and other public buildings are to get £1billion to make them greener and more energy efficient;
  • Some £50million to fund retrofitting of social housing with insulation, double glazing and heat pumps;
  • Nature conservation schemes given £40million to plant trees, clean up rivers and create new green spaces.

Department of Health figures released today showed 240,000 tests were carried out or posted the day before. The number includes antibody tests for frontline NHS and care workers.

But bosses again refused to say how many people were tested, meaning the exact number of Brits who have been swabbed for the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been a mystery for a month — since May 22.

Health chiefs also reported 630 more cases of Covid-19. Government statistics show the official size of the UK’s  outbreak now stands at 286,349 cases. 

But the actual size of the outbreak, which began to spiral out of control in March, is estimated to be in the millions, based on antibody testing data.

The daily death data does not represent how many Covid-19 patients died within the last 24 hours — it is only how many fatalities have been reported and registered with the authorities.

The data does not always match updates provided by the home nations. Department of Health officials work off a different time cut-off, meaning daily updates from Scotland as well as Northern Ireland are always out of sync.

And the count announced by NHS England every afternoon — which only takes into account deaths in hospitals — does not match up with the DH figures because they work off a different recording system.

For instance, some deaths announced by NHS England bosses will have already been counted by the Department of Health, which records fatalities ‘as soon as they are available’.

NHS England today posted 42 lab-confirmed deaths in hospitals across the country, including a 22-year-old who had an underlying health condition. 

Four Covid-19 fatalities were recorded in all settings in Wales, one in Scotland and none in Northern Ireland for the sixth day in a row. 

BORIS REFUSES TO U-TURN ON FREE PARKING FOR NHS STAFF AND FAILS TO APOLOGISE FOR REMARK ON CARE HOMES 

In a blazing row in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister told Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to ‘take his latest bandwagon and park it free somewhere else’ and called his counterpart ‘Captain Hindsight’

Boris Johnson today refused to U-turn on the ‘utterly disgusting’ decision to charge NHS workers to park at hospitals in England when the Covid-19 crisis eases – despite mounting fury over the controversial move.

In a blazing row in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister told Sir Keir Starmer to ‘take his latest bandwagon and park it free somewhere else’ and called the Labour leader ‘Captain Hindsight’.

Matt Hancock promised at the start of the outbreak that ministers would cover the costs of hospital car parking for NHS staff ‘going above and beyond every day’ in England. But the Department of Health has now said the scheme cannot continue indefinitely and only ‘key patient groups’ and staff in ‘certain circumstances’ will be able to park for free.

Doctors slammed the move, with the British Medical Association calling it a ‘rebuff to the immense efforts of staff and the sacrifices they have made to keep others safe’. Piers Morgan criticised it as being ‘completely ridiculous’.

Mr Johnson today also refused to apologise for his controversial remarks on care homes, after he shifted the blame from ministers and said ‘too many’ facilities ignored safety procedures. Sector bosses called his comments ‘despicable’, ‘cowardly’ and a ‘slap in the face’, and warned the PM he had ‘picked a fight with the wrong people’.

Sir Keir offered Mr Johnson – who yesterday dismissed the opportunity to say sorry – another chance to apologise but he refused and was accused of ducking responsibility.

The Labour leader said the premier’s silence ‘rubs salt into the wounds of the very people that he stood at his front door and clapped’, and said the PM and Health Secretary Matt Hancock ‘must be the only people left in the country who think they put a protective ring around care homes’.

More than 1,000 infected Brits died each day during the darkest days of the crisis in mid-April but the number of victims had been dropping by around 20 to 30 per cent week-on-week since the start of May. 

The figures come after Rishi Sunak today delivered an extraordinary boost to the economy by pledging to subsidise half of meals if people eat out, a massive £9billion ‘jobs bonus’ for firms who bring back furloughed staff, and cuts to VAT and stamp duty.

At a pivotal moment in the coronavirus crisis, the Chancellor admitted that ‘hardship lies ahead’ but he was ditching ‘dogma’ to ‘do what is right’ with a £30billion package – on top of the staggering £160billion already splashed out – as the country ‘opens up’ from lockdown.

In an unprecedented move, he said the government will fund up to 50 per cent of people’s meals out at struggling restaurants from Monday to Wednesday, to a maximum of £10 per head. 

Every business that brings back one of the 9million furloughed employees on a decent wage and keeps them on the books until January will also get £1,000. 

VAT is being slashed from 20 per cent to 5 per cent for the hospitality industry until January in another huge intervention – and stamp duty is being axed on all homes worth up to £500,000 until March. 

There is also a £2billion ‘kickstarter’ scheme to pay wages for young people, with Mr Sunak saying one of his main fears is that the meltdown will result in a ‘generation left behind’. Huge subsidies are being offered to insulate and make 650,000 homes more environmentally friendly. 

Mr Sunak conceded that the UK faces ‘profound economic challenges’ that had shrunk the economy by 25 per cent, but told the Commons that mass unemployment was not ‘inevitable’ and no-one would be left without ‘hope’. 

‘We are not just going to accept this,’ he told MPs. ‘People need to know we are going to do all we can to give everyone the opportunity of good and secure work.’    

The extraordinary cash splashing received broad support from the hospitality sector, although there were doubts over how effective the expensive jobs guarantees will prove and whether a stamp duty cut will merely ‘front load’ activity.

There is also growing anxiety about the scale of the debt being racked up by the government, amid warnings that if interest rates rise even modestly servicing the £2trillion-plus debt pile could cost more than the defence and education budgets put together. 

The mini-budget announcement came as Boris Johnson today refused to U-turn on the ‘utterly disgusting’ decision to charge NHS workers to park at hospitals in England when the Covid-19 crisis eases – despite mounting fury over the controversial move.

In a blazing row in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister told Sir Keir Starmer to ‘take his latest bandwagon and park it free somewhere else’ and called the Labour leader ‘Captain Hindsight’.

Matt Hancock promised at the start of the outbreak that ministers would cover the costs of hospital car parking for NHS staff ‘going above and beyond every day’ in England. 

But the Department of Health has now said the scheme cannot continue indefinitely and only ‘key patient groups’ and staff in ‘certain circumstances’ will be able to park for free.

Doctors slammed the move, with the British Medical Association calling it a ‘rebuff to the immense efforts of staff and the sacrifices they have made to keep others safe’. Piers Morgan criticised it as being ‘completely ridiculous’.

Rishi Sunak today announced a 'Eat Out To Help Out' scheme to try to save the struggling hospitality industry

Rishi Sunak today announced a ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme to try to save the struggling hospitality industry

MILLIONS OF BRITS TOLD TO LOSE WEIGHT THIS WINTER AHEAD OF SECOND COVID-19 WAVE 

Dr Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer for England, told ITV's This Morning she was worried by scenes of parties and raves that had appeared in recent weeks

Dr Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer for England, told ITV’s This Morning she was worried by scenes of parties and raves that had appeared in recent weeks

Millions of Britons could protect themselves against Covid-19 by losing weight if the disease strikes again this winter, England’s deputy chief medical officer suggested today.

Dr Jenny Harries warned obesity, proven to increase the risk of coronavirus-infected patients dying, was a risk the UK could ‘do something about’.

She admitted she was ‘very, very concerned’ about a the threat of second wave of the virus this winter, warning it is ‘still out there’ and Britons should keep protecting themselves.

Young people who are less likely to become seriously ill with the virus, and perhaps haven’t seen its effects first hand unlike the older population, may be creating risk by ignoring social distancing rules designed to contain any outbreak.

The public health chief said she was worried by the scenes at raves and parties that have appeared in recent weeks, adding ‘that’s exactly what we do not want to be happening’. 

Mr Johnson today also refused to apologise for his controversial remarks on care homes, after he shifted the blame from ministers and said ‘too many’ facilities ignored safety procedures. 

Sector bosses called his comments ‘despicable’, ‘cowardly’ and a ‘slap in the face’, and warned the PM he had ‘picked a fight with the wrong people’.

Sir Keir offered Mr Johnson – who yesterday dismissed the opportunity to say sorry – another chance to apologise but he refused and was accused of ducking responsibility.

The Labour leader said the premier’s silence ‘rubs salt into the wounds of the very people that he stood at his front door and clapped’, and said the PM and Health Secretary Matt Hancock ‘must be the only people left in the country who think they put a protective ring around care homes’. 

The row came as England’s deputy chief medical officer today suggested millions of Britons could protect themselves against Covid-19 by losing weight if the disease strikes again this winter.

Dr Jenny Harries warned obesity, proven to increase the risk of coronavirus-infected patients dying, was a risk the UK could ‘do something about’.

She admitted she was ‘very, very concerned’ about a the threat of second wave of the virus this winter, warning it is ‘still out there’ and Britons should keep protecting themselves.

Young people who are less likely to become seriously ill with the virus, and perhaps haven’t seen its effects first hand, may be creating risk by ignoring social distancing rules designed to contain any outbreak.

The public health chief said she was worried by the scenes at raves and parties that have appeared in recent weeks, adding ‘that’s exactly what we do not want to be happening’.

Dr Harries revealed it was possible the coronavirus was getting weaker and summer was offering some protection as people spend more time outside — but that people mustn’t become complacent. 

It was also claimed today that the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) is to see its role in the coronavirus crisis downgraded with the nation’s new Joint Biosecurity Centre tasked with doing more of the heavy lifting.

The JBC will take over monitoring the spread of the deadly disease with SAGE now expected to meet less often.

The move, first reported by the BBC, has sparked controversy among scientists who say nothing is known about who works for the JBC and fear it will become secretive organisation.

Funded by the Department of Health, the Joint Biosecurity Centre, is part of the NHS Test and Trace scheme and ultimately under the control of Baroness Dido Harding.

Experts today claimed it would be ‘worrying’ if the role of SAGE — a panel of top independent scientists who advise the Government for free — was demoted.

Amid concerns about transparency SAGE revealed a list of its members and regularly publishes papers from its meetings, which happen behind closed doors with officials in Whitehall.

But top researchers fear the JBC would not commit to the same level of openness and that the science behind the Government’s decisions would be less clear.

HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE REALLY DIED OF THE CORONAVIRUS?

Department of Health: 44,391

Department of Health’s latest death count for all settings stands at 44,391.

The daily data does not represent how many Covid-19 patients died within the last 24 hours — it is only how many fatalities have been reported and registered with the authorities. 

It also only takes into account patients who tested positive for the virus, as opposed to deaths suspected to be down to the coronavirus.  

National statistical bodies: 55,216

Data compiled by the statistical bodies of each of the home nations show 55,216 people died of either confirmed or suspected Covid-19 across the UK by the end of May.

The Office for National Statistics yesterday confirmed that 50,219 people in England and Wales died with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 by June 19.

The number of coronavirus deaths was 824 by the same day in Northern Ireland, according to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).

National Records Scotland — which collects statistics north of the border — said 4,173 people had died across the country by June 22.

Their tallies are always 10 days behind the Department of Health (DH) because they wait until as many fatalities as possible for each date have been counted, to avoid having to revise their statistics.

Excess deaths: 65,249

The total number of excess deaths has now passed 65,000. 

Excess deaths are considered to be an accurate measure of the number of people killed by the pandemic because they include a broader spectrum of victims.

As well as including people who may have died with Covid-19 without ever being tested, the data also shows how many more people died because their medical treatment was postponed, for example, or who didn’t or couldn’t get to hospital when they were seriously ill.

Data from England and Wales shows there has been an extra 59,324 deaths between March 15 and June 12, as well as 4,924 in Scotland between March 10 and June 22 and 1,001 in Northern Ireland between March 28 and June 26. 



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