According to government figures, the UK has become the first in Europe to surpass 50,000 deaths related to coronavirus.
Yesterday it was reported that 50,365 people had died in the UK up to 28 days after testing positive for coronavirus. 595 occured within just 24 hours leading up to the government report.
The UK is the fifth country so far to surpass the 50,000 mark after the US, Brazil, India and Mexico.
Hopes have risen for an effective vaccine to be released over the new year. However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has states that we are far from being over the hill:
We are not out of the woods. Every death is a tragedy. I do think we have got now to a different phase in the way that we treat it.
Since the start of the lockdown on November 5th, the government has reported 166,998 new cases of the virus.
And, since the start of the epidemic, a total of 1.2 million people have been infected by COVID-19 across the UK with more than 185,000 having to be admitted to hospital.
The confirmation of the death toll has been devastating news but it has not fallen equally across residents with over 9 in 10 deaths occurring within the age group of 65 and older.
Ethnic minorities and those living in poorer areas have also been disproportionately affected due to risk factors such as the accessibility of healthcare, housing situations affecting social distancing and the need to attend work.
Deaths fromnon-COVID-19 related illnesses have also risen due to the overcrowding of hospitals has meant many have had to go without or wait long periods for treatments.
The government’s casualty figures only include those who passed within 28 days of testing positive. However, two other ways of testing for the virus have shown even more shocking results.
A second method of measuring coronavirus related deaths is by counting all death certificates that mention the virus whether the deceased had tested positive or not. By this method, the UK has already surpassed 60,000 deaths by the 23rd of October.
The third method is by calculating the excess deaths or the deaths over and above the usual rate for that time of year.
Deaths are already a little higher during this time of year but data offered by the Office for National Statistics and their counterparts in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have shown that the pandemic has caused the death rate to skyrocket over its numbers from the last five years.
Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer has laid the blame at the government’s door stating that they did not act efficiently enough to slow the transmission of the virus. He went on to say that the government owes it to the grieving families and to those who had lost their lives to ‘get on top’ of the second wave.
However, the British Medical Association claimed that the death rate was a sad lesson that had to be learned. BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul explained:
This is a point that should never have been reached. Today's figure is a terrible indictment of poor preparation, poor organisation by the government, insufficient infection control measures, coupled with late and often confusing messaging for the public.
He went on to claim that the government should ‘ensure that nothing on this scale ever happens again’, and enquired them and the public to ‘go over every step with a fine-tooth comb’.