UK Covid-19 death toll passes 80,000

9 January 2021, 16:14 | Updated: 9 January 2021, 17:43

The UK death toll from Covid-19 has now reached 80,000
The UK death toll from Covid-19 has now reached 80,000. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The UK's official death toll from Covid-19 has passed 80,000, as doctors warn that the situation is likely to get worse.

A further 1,035 deaths were confirmed in the past 24 hours, government figures show - the fourth day in a row death figures have exceed a thousand.

It means the death toll now stands at 80,868.

A further 59,937 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus were also confirmed, bringing the total to more than three million since the outbreak began.

The number of patients with Covid-19 in hospital is also at a record high in England, and medics have warned the full impact of social mixing over the Christmas period has not yet been seen.

The Government has doubled down on its "stay at home" message by launching a new advert, fronted by England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, urging everyone in England to "act like you've got" coronavirus.

James Gooderson on Covid-19 numbers passing 80k

But scientists advising the Government estimate there are currently more than 100,000 new infections per day and possibly higher than 150,000 which they believe puts the current number of daily cases at a higher level than ever during the pandemic.

They believe the current lockdown may lead to a plateau of cases of coronavirus across the UK rather than the dramatic cut seen following the March and April lockdown.

It comes amid warnings things are likely to get worse before they get better for hospitals, according to Dr Simon Walsh, deputy chair of the British Medical Association's consultants committee.

The London-based emergency care doctor said the epidemiology from the previous wave indicates the situation is likely to worsen over the next two to three weeks.

He told BBC Breakfast: "I'm afraid all of us who are working on the front line believe, and this is based on the evidence I'm afraid, that it is going to get worse before it gets better."

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He said critical care was having to be spread "more and more thinly", with as many as three patients per intensive care nurse, rather than the usual standard of one-to-one care.

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The Government must both ramp up vaccinations and ensure the appropriate PPE is available for healthcare workers, to make sure they can continue going to work, rather than being struck down by the virus.

He said: "They need to ensure that PPE supply is there when we need it, because we were let down I'm afraid in the first wave by that and so our confidence needs to be restored by the Government in vaccinating and ensuring that those PPE items are in place."

More to follow....