High numbers of deaths from coronavirus are set to carry on “for some weeks” with estimates of more than 1,000 fatalities a day despite signs lockdown measures are starting to have an effect, scientists have warned.
Covid-19 rates have fallen in most regions of England and across all age groups apart from the over-80s, new figures revealed.
And statistics released today showed Yorkshire and the North-East had vaccination most people per 100,000 population in the country so far, including the first pharmacy vaccinations administered to Patricia Main, 75, and 92-year-old Brenda Clegg in Halifax today.
Downing Street has said every area is receiving its “fair share” of coronavirus vaccines after figures showed a disparity in the rollout of jabs.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, meanwhile, came under pressure from Tory lockdown sceptics to set out how he will ease the restrictions on people’s liberties, with former Minister
Steve Baker suggesting “the Prime Minister’s leadership will be on the table” if there is not a change of course.
But a report from Public Health England noted that there were more people being admitted to hospitals and intensive care units, and the time lag between a fall in cases and an impact on the death toll means grim figures are likely to remain a factor for some time.
A new temporary mortuary that can hold up to 1,300 bodies has been built in London and the Government’s leading scientist Sir Patrick Vallance has warned that high death numbers will “carry on for some weeks”.
Professor Neil Ferguson, whose early modelling of Covid-19 made him a key player in the UK’s first lockdown, said: “We’re going to be well over 1,000 deaths a day, even measured by the date people die rather than the date deaths are reported, before numbers start coming down.”
He said the current wave of the epidemic may be coming under control in some regions.
But a record 4,134 hospital admissions of people with Covid-19 in England were reported for January 12, according to the latest figures from NHS England.
This is up 12 per cent on the equivalent figure a week ago on January 5.
NHS England figures showed around one in five major hospital trusts in England had no spare adult critical care beds on January 10.
Some 27 out of 140 acute trusts reported 100 per cent occupancy of all “open” beds on January 10 – the latest date for which statistics are available - including Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
The extreme pressure faced by the health service was laid bare tonight as the Yorkshire Ambulance Service declared a major incident due to a surge in 999 calls, combined with the impact of the snowy weather.
The number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals in England stood at a record 32,925 as of 8am today, NHS England said.
The figure is up 17 per cent on a week ago, and up 86 per cent since Christmas Day. In Yorkshire and the North East, there were 3,455 coronavirus patients in hospital, up 18 per cent.