UK Covid deaths are down, but fears of a second wave grow
In the week ending September 4, UK registered the lowest fatalities in the last four months, but new cases are rising.Updated: Sep 15, 2020, 19:54 IST
After figuring among the worst affected countries earlier this year, the UK is now presenting a mixed picture on Covid-19. In the week ending September 4, it registered the lowest fatalities in the last four months, but new cases are rising, with experts seeing a second wave.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Tuesday that of all deaths registered in the Week 36 of the year, 78 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificates, which is “the lowest number of deaths in the last 25 weeks”, accounting for 1% of all deaths in England and Wales.
The ONS figures relate to deaths in all settings, not only in hospitals, and are based on cause mentioned in death certificates. The Department of Health’s figures relate to cases and deaths in hospitals and care homes.
According to the department’s figures as of Monday evening, the country-wide death figure is 41,637, with 371,125 overall number of cases tested positive. The day-rise tally was 2,621, prompting concern over rising numbers after day-cases in the hundreds in July and August.
There is also growing concern over the inability of many across the country to have tests, with several people told to reach test centres far from their homes. There are instances of health professionals unable to get tests, affecting their ability to work in hospitals.
John Bell, Regius professor of medicine at Oxford University and a government adviser on life sciences, told BBC: “I think what’s going wrong is the second wave…A month ago, they had spare capacity in testing – significant spare capacity – but I think what has been underestimated was the speed at which the second wave would arrive”.
“So, I think they are definitely behind the curve in terms of getting the necessary tests for what we need today”.
Priti Patel, home secretary, regretted the inability of people to get tests, but said: “Tests are available, you’ve heard me say, particularly in local lockdown areas, I’ve seen this myself, I’ve seen the teams that have been working on this”.
“Mobile testing is going in, capacity is going into local areas where lockdowns have been undertaken and are taking place. I think it is wrong to say tests are not available, new book-in slots are being made available every single day, mobile testing units are being made available”.
As of September 9, there were 793 deaths of patients categorised as ‘Indian’ in hospitals - the highest among ethnic minorities, who account for 13 per cent of deaths in England.