UK Covid-19 deaths soar by 1,162 as NHS staff warn of exhaustion

7 January 2021, 16:47 | Updated: 7 January 2021, 17:06

A further 1,162 people in the UK have died from Covid-19, in the highest death count since April
A further 1,162 people in the UK have died from Covid-19, in the highest death count since April. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

A further 1,162 people in the UK have died from Covid-19, in the highest daily death count since April.

Figures from the Department of Health showed a further 52,618 people have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic to over 2.84 million.

The figure - which brings the total number of deaths to over 77,000, is the second-worst daily death toll since the beginning of the pandemic.

It also comes as NHS staff warn they are working "to the limit" of their ability in rare footage from a coronavirus ward.

Shattered healthcare workers at St George's Hospital in Tooting, south-west London, said they are battling low morale, exhausting shift patterns, and the prospect that the worst is still to come.

With the number of Covid cases rising across the capital and the UK, the hospital has vastly expanded intensive care capacity and moved staff without specialist training to high dependency roles to cover the workload.

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It comes as a further 1,162 people died within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus in the UK on Thursday the highest daily reported total since the first wave of infection in April.

London has been at the epicentre of the latest wave of infections, and St George's has now seen its number of Covid patients at least matching the first peak.

In rare behind-the-scenes access to a frontline ward, the Press Association was told that staff are "resilient" to the challenge ahead, but workers conceded there was little room for manoeuvre.

Dr Mark Haden, an emergency department consultant, said: "We make it look like business as usual but it's very much not - it's very different to our usual pattern of work.

"Everyone's stress levels are higher than usual. Everyone is working to the limit, to the threshold of what they're able to.

"The hospital bed occupancy is very, very high, it has lots of Covid patients as inpatients at the moment. It's very stressful for staff and that is starting to show."

More to follow...