U.K. Reports Highest Number of Virus Deaths as Strain Spreads

The U.K. reported the most deaths from Covid-19 on Friday, the latest sign that the country is struggling to control the more infectious strain of the virus.

There were a further 1,325 fatalities, according to the government’s data dashboard, exceeding the prior record set on April 21 last year. Some 68,053 new cases were reported, and 31,624 are hospitalized with the disease, according to the latest data.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan earlier declared a “major incident” in the capital, highlighting the rapid spread of the disease in the south east of England. Hospitals in the city could run out of beds for patients in need of intensive care within two weeks, news service HSJ reported on Wednesday, citing a presentation by NHS England.

The U.K. is responding by racing to protect the vulnerable, imposing a third national lockdown and planning to vaccinate at least 200,000 people a day by Jan. 15 to try to slow the spread. There are now significantly more people hospitalized with the disease than in the first wave, and the number of patients on mechanical ventilation is approaching record levels.

U.K. Reports Highest Number of Virus Deaths as Strain Spreads

The country this week reported more than 1,000 deaths a day, a surge that matched the deadliest period of the first wave. However, the average number of deaths from the virus each day, when calculated by the date of death, is still about two-thirds of April’s peak. That suggests some of the deaths reported this week may be the result of a backlog in the country’s health services over the holiday period.

The U.K. calculates deaths that take place within 28 days of a positive test. A major incident is defined as being “likely to involve serious harm, damage, disruption or risk to human life or welfare, essential services, the environment or national security.”

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