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UK COVID deaths averaged more than 900 per day in first fortnight of 2021

Written by on 30/01/2021

An average of more than 900 people died with COVID-19 each day in the first two weeks of this year, according to new analysis.

The second half of April 2020 – the peak of the first wave – is the last time there was a 15-day period as deadly, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.

However, January’s average is likely to increase as more deaths are registered.

Today marks a year since the UK’s earliest known death from the disease – 84-year-old Peter Attwood from Chatham in Kent.

An analysis of the first three months of the first and second waves shows there were 52,519 deaths between 1 March and 1 June 2020; and 48,023 between 15 October 2020 and 15 January.

The Press Association, which examined the ONS data, again cautioned that the second deaths figure would rise due to delays in registering some deaths.

The first 15 days of January saw at least 13,876 people die after testing positive for coronavirus – an average of 925 per day.

More from Covid-19

The figures differ from the daily tally issued by the government. They are based on the actual date of death, rather than when that death was reported.

Other findings include

• 8 April was the deadliest day of the whole pandemic so far, when 1,457 deaths occurred

• The deadliest day of the second wave was 11 January, when 1,097 people died

• During the first wave (1 March to 1 June) the death toll was above 1,000 on 23 days; and above 400 on 53 days

During the second wave (15 October to 15 January) the death toll was above 1,000 on four days, and above 400 on 70 days

However, there are fears the current wave will become more deadly than the first.

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Inside COVID ward – Medics pressure, as patients fight

One expert says it’s likely there will be a slower decline in deaths, and also more fluctuations in the death rate.

Karl Friston, a professor from University College London, and part of the Independent Sage group, said deaths would likely “far exceed the number seen during the first wave”.

“In short, it seems as if the current resurgence will, on the one hand, not attain the peak fatality rates of the first wave; however, it is likely to be more protracted and deadly,” he said.

“The actual trajectory will depend sensitively on socio-behavioural responses (eg opening schools) and the efficacy of vaccination.”

The UK this week passed 100,000 deaths linked to coronavirus – the highest in Europe – and now stands at 104,371

That figure is based on the government’s preferred measure, of deaths within 28 days of a positive test.

However, an alternative tally looking at where COVID-19 is mentioned anywhere on the death certificate as a potential cause, as well as deaths that have happened more recently, puts it at over 120,000.

The emergence of more effective vaccines this week has given extra hope that the death rate can be significantly reduced as the year goes on.

Over three nights, Sky News will host a series of special programmes examining the UK’s response to the pandemic.

Watch COVID Crisis: Learning the Lessons at 8pm on 9, 10 and 11 February.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

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