UK second wave COVID deaths now higher than whole of first wave

Rebecca Speare-Cole
·3-min read

Watch: Coronavirus in numbers: UK death toll rises by 1,243

coronavirus latest news
coronavirus latest news

The UK has seen more deaths in the second coronavirus wave so far than the whole of the first.

As of Tuesday, 41,724 people have died since cases began to rise at the end of August, according to data from the unofficial Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage). This compares to 41,501 deaths in the first wave before 31 August.

Meanwhile, second wave numbers are still expected to climb over the next few weeks as experts say the impact from Christmas gatherings has yet to hit.

It comes after the UK reported a further 1,243 deaths within 28 days of a positive test for COVID-19, bringing the total death toll to 83,203.

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Hospital figures have also hit a new high with 35,075 COVID patients on wards as of Monday – a 22% increase from last week.

This latest death toll is marginally lower than the record 1,326 fatalities reported on Friday, which also saw a further 68,053 cases.

Ambulance crews transport patients into City Hospital in Birmingham. The West Midlands has several areas in the top 10 highest-growing coronavirus numbers. (Photo by Jacob King/PA Images via Getty Images)
Ambulance crews transport patients into City Hospital in Birmingham. (Getty Images)

It follows the new variant of the virus causing record infections, hospital admissions and deaths in recent weeks.

In fact, the UK has seen one of the worst tolls in the world and in parts of London, it's believed that one in 20 people are currently infected.

Meanwhile, the UK government's chief medical adviser, Professor Chris Whitty, said the next weeks of the pandemic will be the worst yet to hit that country – even as it rushes to ramp up its mass vaccination programme.

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On Tuesday, Independent Sage member, Christina Pagel, tweeted analysis from the panel showing the second and first wave cut off point as 31 August when deaths were at their lowest.

She wrote: “So as of today, we have more reported deaths within 28 days of a positive covid test in the UK's second wave than we did in the first.

“Tragically, the number of people dying each day will still climb for a few weeks yet and any impact from Christmas is yet to come.”

Meanwhile, the NHS is struggling to cope with the British Medical Association reported that more than 46,000 doctors and nurses have contracted coronavirus.

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Health chiefs have also said some patients have recently had to wait for up to nine hours in ambulances outside hospitals.

Health secretary Matt Hancock warned that "the pressure on the NHS is very, very bad" at the moment as he urged people to stick to the lockdown rules.

Watch: COVID-19: The excuses people have been giving for breaking lockdown