Orris Johnson recognized the “terrible toll” of the coronavirus on the UK, as official figures showed more than 150,000 people have now died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19.
A scientist advising the government said Saturday’s total, when 313 additional deaths were announced, was an “absolute tragedy”, made worse because “many of them were avoidable if we had first And the second wave had the first action”.
With a total of 150,057 deaths by way of measurement, the UK became the seventh country to cross the milestone after the US, Brazil, India, Russia, Mexico and Peru.
But separate figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 174,000 deaths have now been recorded in the UK, where Covid-19 was mentioned on death certificates.
Professor Andrew Hayward, who sits on the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: “It is absolutely sad and terrifying to think that has been repeated so many times.
“I think we could have done better. I think some of the deaths are even more tragic for the fact that many of them could have been avoided if we had taken action earlier in the first and second wave.”
The new deaths were announced as the NHS faces a significant strain from the Omicron variant and records high cases, although the death rate due to vaccines is not as fast as it was in the pandemic and the new strain is believed to be mild. Was.
In a tweeted statement, the Prime Minister said: “Coronavirus has taken a terrible toll on our country and the number of deaths recorded today has reached 150,000.
“Each one of them is a profound loss to the affected families, friends and communities and my thoughts and condolences are with them.
“Our way out of this pandemic is for everyone to get their booster or their first or second dose if they haven’t taken it yet.”
Another 146,390 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus were also recorded.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said the death toll was “a dark milestone for our country”.
“Our thoughts are with all those who have lost someone, and we thank everyone who has supported the vaccination effort,” he said.
“We must ensure that the public inquiry provides answers and lessons are learned.”
Joe Goodman, co-founder of the Campaign for Justice for COVID-19 Bereaved Families, said the official figure of 150,000 coronavirus deaths was “yet another charge of the government’s handling of the pandemic”.
“We didn’t need more bereaved families here and the rest of the country needs to answer for how we have suffered one of the highest number of deaths globally,” he said.
“This is all the more urgent as deaths from the Omicron variant continue to rise, clearly little is being done to address this. The public inquiry cannot begin its work too soon.”
Earlier in the day, a warning was issued on Omicron’s “concerning” rates in the North East and North West of England as concerns continued over NHS staffing levels.
The data showed that three of the five UK regions with a week-on-week increase in COVID case rates are Middlesbrough (from 748.8 to 2,651.4), Copeland (1,731.3 to 3,525.8) and Redcar and Cleveland (from 846.8 to 2,564.3).
Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the government’s Scientific Epidemic Influenza Modeling Group (SPI-M), highlighted these areas along with the Midlands as areas of concern.
A University of Warwick academic told Times Radio: “Most other parts of the country are about two to three weeks behind where London is in its pandemic profile.
“Particularly relating to the North East and the North West – if you look at the hospital admissions in those two areas that they’re going up, the Midlands also, where I live, it’s also a little concerning, so it’s a concern. subject to.
“On the slightly more positive side, so it doesn’t sound all doom and gloom, what we’re seeing from hospital admissions is that the length of hospital stay is shorter on average, which is good news, symptoms are less visible. The Deta is a bit lighter, so that’s what we are seeing consistently with the Omicron variant.”
In the Midlands, the leaders of Northamptonshire on Friday announced a system-wide major event due to COVID-19.
The Northamptonshire Local Resilience Forum, which is made up of NHS organisations, local authorities, the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service and Northamptonshire Police, issued the alert due to “increasing demand on services and staffing levels”.
However, Dr Tildesley said that Omicron is probably the “first ray of light” that has ensured that COVID-19 is as endemic and easy to live as the common cold.
He said: “What may happen in the future is that you may see the emergence of a new variant that is less severe and eventually, in the long term, what happens is that COVID becomes endemic and you have less Serious version. It is very similar to the common cold, which we have been living with for many years.”
Meanwhile, the armed forces stepped in to fill the staffing crisis in the NHS due to the rapid spread of the variant.
Figures from NHS England show that 39,142 NHS staff in hospital trusts in England were absent for Covid-19 reasons on 2 January, up 59% over the previous week (24,632) and more than tripled (12,508) at the beginning of December.
In all, about 9,300 armed forces are available on standby.
Along with staff shortage, hospitals are also facing the highest number of admissions from the coronavirus since last February.
Government figures show that as of 6 January, a total of 18,454 people were in hospital with Covid-19 in the UK.
This is up 40% week over week and the highest number since 18 February 2021.
During the second wave of the coronavirus, the number reached 39,254 on 18 January 2021.