UK Covid death toll soars by 1,243 in second deadliest day ever

12 January 2021, 18:42

The figures were announced at a Downing Street briefing by Home Secretary Priti Patel
The figures were announced at a Downing Street briefing by Home Secretary Priti Patel. Picture: Getty

By Matt Drake

UK coronavirus deaths have risen by 1,243, the second-highest number of fatalities recorded in a single day.

This brings the total number of deaths within 28 days of a positive test to 83,203.

Cases have also risen, today by 45,533 bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 3,164,051.

Hospitalisations are also on the rise, and Home Secretary Priti Patel said there has been a 22% increase in patients who are receiving care from last week.

There are now 35,075 people currently in hospital with Covid-19.

In grim statistics which lay bare the true toll of the effect this virus is having, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said almost half of all deaths in hospital in the last week of 2020 were linked to Covid-19.

Of the 4,956 deaths registered which occurred in hospitals, 47.7% involved coronavirus, up from 40.2% the previous week.

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And deaths involving Covid-19 in care homes accounted for more than a quarter (27.6%) of all deaths in care homes registered during the seven-day period.

Strict measures have been introduced in England in an attempt to curb the rapidly rising cases.

Almost 45,000 fixed penalty notices for breaking Covid rules have so far been issued in the UK, as a police chief said forces "make no apology" for doing so.

Martin Hewitt, Chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council, added those who flout Covid rules are: "Dangerous, selfish, and totally irresponsible".

He added that forces across the country have been attending a number of illegal gatherings, including a party of 40 people - each of whom had paid £40 to attend - and issued at £10,000 fine to an organiser who claimed a house party was a business meeting.

Mr Hewitt told a Downing Street press conference people needed to take personal responsibility for their actions.

The ONS said that next week it will release a new dataset on the weekly deaths of care home residents.

The figures show the number of registered coronavirus deaths is up 8.0% (232 deaths) from the previous week, while the number of overall deaths fell.

Of the 10,069 deaths registered, 31.2% mentioned Covid-19 - the highest proportion of deaths involving the virus since the week ending May 1.

The ONS said the latest figures should be interpreted with caution as the period covered includes two bank holidays, meaning there is likely to have been a delay in some registrations.

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A decrease between these weeks is usually observed because of the impact of the Christmas bank holidays.

The figures show that, up to the week ending January 1, 55,372 deaths occurred in hospital, 20,661 in care homes, 3,942 in private homes, 1,100 in hospices, 315 in other communal establishments and 279 elsewhere.

According to Care Quality Commission records, 824 deaths in care homes were notified to the regulator in the week up to January 8.

This is up 24.6% from the previous week, when 661 deaths were notified, and up 55.4% from the 530 deaths notified in the week before that.