Covid: How the UK reached 50,000 deaths from the virus

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Nick Triggle
Health correspondent

@nicktriggleon Twitter

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  • Coronavirus pandemic

image copyrightPA Media

The UK has now recorded more than 50,000 deaths linked to Covid-19, according to official government figures.

It is a tragic step that illustrates the impact of the pandemic on the country. But on his own, he doesn’t tell the whole story. Behind the figure there is a complex picture.

The dead came in waves

The majority of the deaths occurred in the spring when the virus took the UK by surprise.

Deaths increased rapidly in the first weeks of the pandemic, doubling every four days at some point before peaking at 1,000 deaths per day in April.

He then fell as the lockdown and other measures had an impact. At times throughout the summer, daily deaths were in the single digits before the virus rebounded.

Throughout the fall, the number of deaths has increased, albeit much more slowly than in the spring, with deaths doubling roughly every two weeks for now.

With signs of slowing infection rates and the prospect of a vaccine on the horizon, there is hope that the increasing numbers will slow down, perhaps eventually to almost a stop.

Deaths from other causes have also increased

The government death tally is only for those who died within 28 days of a positive test. But if you look at the death records, it’s clear that overall more people have died in the pandemic than expected.

Until the end of October, there were nearly 70,000 additional deaths.

Some of them were found to be Covid-related by doctors who completed death certificates – a lack of testing in the early days meant a number of Covid deaths were not recorded as such.

But some were what are known as indirect deaths. This includes deaths from other conditions such as heart disease because people did not get the treatment they needed.

Most of the deaths are among the elderly

The average age of people who have died with Covid is over 80, with more than nine in 10 deaths among those over 65, according to analyzes by the Bureau of National Statistics of the pandemic.

The number of deaths among those under 45 has been low – only a few hundred have been observed, including six children under 14.

Northern England has been hit hard

There are marked differences when you look at deaths by area.

A number of factors have contributed to this, from infection levels to the age and health of the population.

People from disadvantaged backgrounds and ethnic minority groups have died in greater numbers.

The international comparison

Whether you look at excessive deaths or coronavirus deaths per capita, the UK has seen one of the worst deaths in the world.

The blame has sometimes been laid on the government’s doorstep.

From the delay in closing, to the lack of testing in the early days and the continued struggle with contact tracing, various factors have been put forward as to why the UK has seen so many deaths.

But the UK is not the only country to have struggled. Ministers from Spain, France and Italy have also been heavily criticized.

The aging of the population has played a role

But if you put the government’s record aside, the size and age of Britain’s population has also made us vulnerable.

In fact, if you adjust the death rate for the age and size of the population, the number of deaths seen in 2020 is high.

But that’s not completely out of step with the death rate of the early years of the 21st century.

Since then, the population has become more and more numerous.

A virus that carries such a significant risk to the fragile and vulnerable and thrives on close contact has unfortunately taken its toll on a densely populated and aging island.

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