There are more than 236,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and almost 34,000 people have lost their lives, government figures show.
However, the total number of deaths relating to coronavirus is thought to be higher, with Office for National Statistics (ONS) data suggesting there had already been more than 36,000 such deaths by the beginning of May.
The number of new daily confirmed cases has been falling since a peak in April, despite an increase in the number of people being tested.
Find out how many people have confirmed cases in your area:
If you can’t see the look-up click here.
UK coronavirus deaths are falling
The new coronavirus was first confirmed in the UK at the end of January, but the number of daily confirmed cases and related deaths only began to increase significantly mid-late March.
Although strict social distancing measures introduced at the end of March have helped bring the daily death toll down, the UK now has the highest official death toll in Europe and the second highest in the world. However, the government and many experts say it is too soon to make international comparisons.
Another 384 deaths were announced on Friday, bringing the official government total number of deaths in the UK to 33,998.
The majority of the UK’s deaths have been in England, with nearly 30,000 so far – about 90% of the total for the UK.
In Scotland, the official government figure for deaths is 2,053, but data on death registrations from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) suggests it is at least 3,213.
In Wales, the death toll stands at 1,173, while there have been 469 deaths in Northern Ireland.
- Coronavirus in Scotland: Key figures and trends
- What do the stats tell us in Wales?
However, the actual overall UK death toll is thought to be higher than suggested by government figures, which only count those who have tested positive for the virus.
Data from the ONS – which looks at all death certificates mentioning Covid-19 – puts the number at more than 36,000 in the week ending 1 May.
And separate data that records the number of people who have died over and above the expected total for this time of year suggests the number of excess deaths could have been more than 50,000 by the same date.
This figure is likely to include undiagnosed coronavirus deaths, as well as others indirectly caused by the pandemic.
Most recorded coronavirus deaths have been among the elderly. Figures released by NHS England show more than half of deaths have been among people aged over 80.
ONS data has also suggested people living in more deprived areas of England and Wales are more likely to die with coronavirus than those in more affluent places.
In addition, ONS analysis found black men and women are nearly twice as likely to die with coronavirus as white people, with the risk persisting after taking into account age, where people live and some measures of deprivation and prior health.
- Why are more BAME people dying from coronavirus?
Quarter of coronavirus deaths have been in care homes
The ONS, which has provided the best picture so far of the impact on care homes, suggests that more than a quarter of all coronavirus-related deaths in Britain have happened in such homes.
Up to 1 May, there had been more than 8,300 deaths in care homes in England and Wales where coronavirus was written on the death certificate, according to the ONS.
In Scotland, 1,438 people had died in care homes by this time – 45% of all deaths. Northern Ireland currently does not produce similar breakdowns.
The latest figures on care homes published on Tuesday suggest that deaths in such homes have now begun to fall.
However, additional data released on Friday suggests that almost a third (28%) of the deaths of care home residents actually happened in hospitals, so would not have been counted in the above data. This adds more than 3,400 deaths of care home residents to the overall care home death toll.
- How big is the epidemic in care homes?
Daily confirmed cases are falling
The number of daily confirmed cases of coronavirus has been falling over the past week from peaks of more than 6,000 confirmed in a single day.
A further 3,560 were announced on Friday.
Cases were originally concentrated in London, the Midlands and the North West, according to official data.
But South Wales and parts of the North West and North East also have a high proportions of cases.
Despite the number of cases falling, the infection rate in the UK could have risen again, according to official government scientific advice.
The crucial “R-number” sits between 0.7 and 1.0, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) group of advisors said on Friday, meaning the number of people on average an infected person will pass the virus to could be close to one – the point where cases could increase again.
The R-number had been sitting between 0.5 and 0.9.
The revised figures do not factor in the changes to lockdown announced on Sunday.
The number of hospital patients with coronavirus is also falling
The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 has been gradually declining since a peak over Easter.
On Friday, the government said the number of people in hospital with coronavirus had fallen to just over 10,700, down from more than 12,000 on the same day last week.
However, the picture is different across the UK’s nations and regions, with numbers falling faster in some areas than others.
Testing hits government target
The latest figures on testing for coronavirus in the UK show that more than one and a half million people have now been tested.
In the most recent 24-hour period, the total number of tests was almost 134,000 – the highest so far.
The daily total includes test kits sent to individuals or to testing locations but not yet analysed or returned, as well as tests fully processed through the relevant UK labs.
When it set out to rapidly increase the country’s testing capacity at the beginning of April, the UK government pledged to carry out 100,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of the month.
The target has only been hit five times since the end of April – two of those have been in the last two days.
People over 65 and those who must leave home to work, as well as those they live with, can book coronavirus tests.
All residents and staff in care homes in England, and patients and staff in the NHS, are also eligible, regardless of whether they have symptoms.
Increased testing is essential for the government’s strategy to “test, track and trace” potential coronavirus cases.
As part of this plan, an app is being piloted on the Isle of Wight which alerts people that they may have been exposed to a potential coronavirus case.
- What is the UK’s test, track and trace strategy?
Credit: Source link