Coronavirus UK: 950 new cases and 49 deaths in official toll


Coronavirus cases rose to a six-week high in the UK today as officials announced another 950 people had tested positive for the life-threatening disease.

Department of Health statistics show 835 Britons are now getting diagnosed each day — with the rolling seven-day average having consistently risen since it dropped to a four-month low on July 8 (546). 

The daily number of cases is the highest since 1,006 were recorded on June 26. Some 938 more infections were confirmed on August 3 and 892 were declared yesterday.

The figures add to mounting fears of a second wave. Nicola Sturgeon today admitted the coronavirus R rate in Scotland has gone up and could be as high as the dreaded level of one, where an outbreak could start to spiral out of control again.

Despite the UK’s cases curve starting to rise again, deaths have yet to follow suit. Health chiefs today announced 45 more Covid-19 fatalities — taking the official number of victims to 46,413. 

Around 59 patients are succumbing to the illness each day, on average. It’s slightly higher than yesterday’s figure of 58 but remains lower than the daily mean of 64 last Thursday. 

And the number of patients being admitted to hospital has yet to spike, bolstering claims from top scientists that the outbreak is not getting worse and cases are only rising because more patients are being tested. 

Just 85 coronavirus patients were admitted for NHS care across the UK on August 4 — a figure which has barely changed throughout July. During the darkest days of Britain’s crisis in April, around 3,500 patients were needing hospital treatment every day.

It comes as it was reported today that thousands of coronavirus deaths are set to be wiped from the government’s official count following an urgent review into how they are counted. A ‘flaw’ meant all survivors in England would eventually be counted as a victim — even if they were hit by a bus months after beating the infection.

In other developments today: 

  • NHS Test and Trace is getting worse at tracking down contacts of infected Covid-19 patients, the government  admitted amid mounting pressure to improve the system before the winter;
  • Nicola Sturgeon admitted Scotland’s R rate has gone up to as high as one and warned infection numbers are expected to keep rising despite a lockdown in Aberdeen;
  • The Bank of England warned that unemployment is set to rise by a million within months as coronavirus wreaks havoc on the economy – but admitted the downturn might not be as apocalyptic as feared;
  • Coronavirus cases continued to fall after some lockdown measures were eased and infections halved from May to July, according to the results of a major study;
  • Ministers spent more than £150milllion buying millions of face masks from a small investment company that cannot be used by NHS medics, court documents revealed;
  • Homebuyers living in major cities are planning their escape to the countryside as a property website reported a 125 per cent increase in people looking to move to villages after the coronavirus lockdown.

Thousands of coronavirus deaths ‘will be wiped off the government’s official toll’ 

Thousands of coronavirus deaths are set to be wiped from the government’s official count, it was claimed today.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock last month ordered an urgent review into how daily death counts are calculated in England because of a ‘statistical flaw’.

Academics found Public Health England’s methods meant ministers count victims as anyone who died after ever testing positive for Covid-19 — even if they were hit by a bus after beating the disease months later.

It would’ve meant that, technically, no-one could ever recover from the virus and all 265,000 of England’s confirmed patients would eventually have had their deaths attributed to the disease.

The blunder could see up to 4,000 deaths removed from England’s official toll of 41,749, according to reports. One of the leading experts who uncovered the flaw told MailOnline his ‘best guess’ was that more than 1,000 people have had their deaths wrongly recorded as caused by Covid-19.

Department of Health chiefs yesterday announced that another 892 people tested positive for the virus, taking the rolling seven-day average to 820. 

For comparison, the rate was 802 the day before — which was the first time it had topped 800 in more than a month. The rate has been on the up for over a fortnight amid growing fears of a resurgence.

Government statistics show the official size of the UK’s outbreak now stands at 307,184. But the actual size of the outbreak is estimated to be in the millions, based on antibody testing data.

Professor Carl Heneghan, director of Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, this week claimed Covid-19 cases aren’t actually rising — despite government figures showing an upwards trend.

He said the rising infection rates are down to more people being tested, pointing to data showing the number of pillar two tests carried out each day rose by 80 per cent over the course of July to around 80,000.

The deaths data does not represent how many Covid-19 patients died within the last 24 hours — it is only how many fatalities have been reported and registered with the authorities.

And the figure does not always match updates provided by the home nations. Department of Health officials work off a different time cut-off, meaning daily updates from Scotland and Northern Ireland are out of sync.

The count announced by NHS England every afternoon, which only takes into account deaths in hospitals, does not match up with the DH figures because they work off a different recording system.

For instance, some deaths announced by NHS England bosses will have already been counted by the Department of Health, which records fatalities ‘as soon as they are available’.  

But the fatality curve is no longer flattening as quickly as it was, with the rolling seven-day average number of daily deaths having been in the sixties since July 18. 

Some 123 Britons were diagnosed with the infection out of a sample size of nearly 160,000 people between June 9 and July 8 — an incidence rate of 0.07 per cent. This was down by almost half from May, when 159 people out of 120,620 tested positive (0.13 per cent)

Nicola Sturgeon admits Scotland’s R rate has gone UP to as high as one

Scotland’s coronavirus infection rate has risen in the wake of an outbreak in Aberdeen, Nicola Sturgeon admitted today.

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The First Minister said the R-rate for the county had risen to between 0.6 and one, up from between 0.6 and 0.9 and new cases have also been found in Glasgow and the Clyde.

A total of 79 cases have been confirmed in Aberdeen in relation to the cluster which prompted the city to be put in lockdown, with a further 30 under investigation.

Ms Sturgeon said she expects to be reporting a rise in the number of people infected in Aberdeen on Friday, despite putting pubs, restaurants and other businesses back into mothballs.

‘I know that this is a real blow to the city and all of us regret that we’ve had to take this position, but I do believe that people understand why it is necessary,’ she said.

‘There are just too many uncertainties about this outbreak right now so we are not yet confident that we can keep it under control without these additional measures.’

It can take infected patients several weeks to die, meaning any spike in deaths won’t be immediately apparent in government figures.

NHS England today declared five victims in hospitals across the country. Wales recorded three in all settings. No fatalities were registered in Scotland or Northern Ireland

It comes after it was reported today that thousands of coronavirus deaths are set to be wiped from the government’s official count.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock last month ordered an urgent review into how daily death counts are calculated in England because of a ‘statistical flaw’.

Academics found Public Health England’s methods meant ministers count victims as anyone who died after ever testing positive for Covid-19 — even if they were hit by a bus after beating the disease months later.

It would’ve meant that, technically, no-one could ever recover from the virus and all 265,000 of England’s confirmed patients would eventually have had their deaths attributed to the disease.

The blunder could see up to 4,000 deaths removed from England’s official toll of 41,749, according to reports. 

One of the leading experts who uncovered the flaw told MailOnline his ‘best guess’ was that more than 1,000 people have had their deaths wrongly recorded as caused by Covid-19.

Mr Hancock is set to bring the figures in line with Scotland and Northern Ireland, which only attribute deaths to Covid-19 if it occurs within a month of their diagnosis.

The Health Secretary is expected to announce the new measurement by the end of the week following the two-week review into the counting fiasco.

The statistical flaw was uncovered by Oxford University’s Professor Carl Heneghan and Dr Yoon Loke, from the University of East Anglia.

Professor Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the prestigious university, told the Sun: ‘It is a sensible decision. There is no point attributing deaths to Covid 28 days after infection.

Coronavirus cases continued to fall after some lockdown measures were eased 

Coronavirus cases continued to fall after some lockdown measures were eased, a major study revealed today.

Some 123 Britons were diagnosed with the infection out of a sample size of nearly 160,000 people between June 9 and July 8 — an incidence rate of 0.07 per cent. This was down by almost half from May, when 159 people out of 120,620 tested positive (0.13 per cent).

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the research showed ‘we were able to keep rates of infection low as some restrictions were lifted’.

Non-essential shops were allowed to reopen on June 15, and ministers allowed single-person households to mix with other homes for the first time since the lockdown was introduced on March 23.

But the effect of the changes on July 4 — when the two-metre social distancing rule was halved and pubs, restaurants and cinemas reopened — won’t be felt until the Imperial College London team’s next report.

Cases appear to have slowly crept up since ‘Super Saturday’, according to the Government’s official statistics. Around 800 people are catching the virus a day — up from a four-month low of 546 on July 8.

The same study also found more than eight in 10 people who tested positive for coronavirus in June and July had no symptoms.

It comes as Nicola Sturgeon today admitted that Scotland’s coronavirus infection rate has risen in the wake of an outbreak in Aberdeen.

The First Minister said the R-rate for the county had risen to between 0.6 and one, up from between 0.6 and 0.9 and new cases have also been found in Glasgow and the Clyde.

A total of 79 cases have been confirmed in Aberdeen in relation to the cluster which prompted the city to be put in lockdown, with a further 30 under investigation.

Ms Sturgeon said she expects to be reporting a rise in the number of people infected in Aberdeen on Friday, despite putting pubs, restaurants and other businesses back into mothballs.

‘I know that this is a real blow to the city and all of us regret that we’ve had to take this position, but I do believe that people understand why it is necessary,’ she said.

‘There are just too many uncertainties about this outbreak right now so we are not yet confident that we can keep it under control without these additional measures.’

Ms Sturgeons warning came hours after a major study revealed coronavirus cases continued to fall after some lockdown measures were eased.

Some 123 Britons were diagnosed with the infection out of a sample size of nearly 160,000 people between June 9 and July 8 — an incidence rate of 0.07 per cent. 

This was down by almost half from May, when 159 people out of 120,620 tested positive (0.13 per cent).

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the research showed ‘we were able to keep rates of infection low as some restrictions were lifted’.

Non-essential shops were allowed to reopen on June 15, and ministers allowed single-person households to mix with other homes for the first time since the lockdown was introduced on March 23.

But the effect of the changes on July 4 — when the two-metre social distancing rule was halved and pubs, restaurants and cinemas reopened — won’t be felt until the Imperial College London team’s next report. 

The same study also found more than eight in 10 people who tested positive for coronavirus in June and July had no symptoms.



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