UK's coronavirus outbreak may be WORSE than Italy's with more deaths than it had at the same stage, new figures suggest
BRITAIN’S coronavirus death toll may be HIGHER than Italy’s was at the same stage of the pandemic, certain figures suggest.
Covid-19 has killed at least 2,961 people in Britain – 456 more than the 2,505 deaths in Italy at the same point of its outbreak.
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Yesterday was 21 days since the tenth coronavirus death in Britain, a standard starting point for comparing outbreaks.
After the same number of days following the tenth death in Italy, which has suffered the most deadly coronavirus outbreak of any country, 2,505 people had died.
This is compared to 2,961 in the UK – including 40 who have died outside of hospital – after the number of deaths shot up by 596 yesterday.
The rate of deaths each day also appears to be increasing more rapidly here, according to one set of data.
The daily death rate in the UK doubled on Tuesday and then went up another 50 per cent on Wedneday, when 563 fatalities were announced.
On the corresponding days in Italy the rate was relatively stable, with 370 deaths followed by two days when there were 347. It did jump up to 473 the day after though.
Analysing figures from 10 deaths has been standard practice for publications covering the outbreak.
However, if a different death is used as the starting point, the results will differ.
For example, the government last night released a graph comparing the number of deaths in the UK, Italy, Spain, France and a number of other countries since each country recorded its 50th death.
That put Britain slightly behind Italy.
It comes as positive cases for the deadly disease in the UK rose to 33,718 – up 4,244 from the day before.
Just a week ago, the total number of people infected was 11,658.
'1,000 DEATHS A DAY'
Fears are now growing that the number of deaths will keep rising at a faster rate – potentially to a “thousand deaths a day” over the weekend.
Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, today told The Sun Online the UK will have one of the higher mortality rates in the world when the pandemic is finally over.
He said: “We’re going to see 1,000 deaths a day a soon and we are likely to hit this dreadful number in the next few days – possibly over the weekend.
“The way things are, I think it’s quite likely we will significantly pass the 20,000 deaths ‘target’ set out by the government.”
When asked about the latest figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, which show the UK’s death rate increasing faster than Italy, Prof Hunter said: “You’re not wrong.
“The figures are worrying.
"In the end we will be at least as bad as Italy, whether we are worse or slightly better – we will see in a month or two.
“We are certainly heading that way and we are likely to see the same numbers of deaths as Italy.
“When I’ve looked at the data, it’s my judgement that I think we will have one of the higher mortality rates.
The figures are worrying, in the end we will be at least as bad as Italy, whether we are worse or slightly better – we will see in a month or two.
“In part that is down to the fact we have a large elderly population.
“But it all depends on how effective we are in terms of keeping the NHS running and whether we still have the numbers of doctors and nurses to fight it."
Italy remains the worst-affected country with a total of 13,915 deaths.
The ECDC figures suggest the UK could soon overtake Italy and Spain, which has seen 10,348 deaths.
Prof Hunter added: "We need to be cautious about analysing one piece of data but the figures are alarming.
“It’s possible that we will overtake Italy’s death toll – but it’s too early to say."
It comes as officials consider a major U-turn in their advice to order Brits to wear face masks in public.
New evidence has prompted experts to reconsider their advice as they examine research that suggests their use does help to combat Covid-19.
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Meanwhile, the Department of Health has confirmed 163,194 people have been tested for coronavirus – with 10,657 tests carried out in England alone for the first time since the outbreak began.
Among the deaths announced was comedy legend Eddie Large, 78, who died after contracting the disease in hospital.
Boris Johnson spoke of the UK's "sad, sad day" as the death toll took a sharp rise – as he promised to ramp up testing for the killer bug.
The PM released a video of himself self-isolating as he revealed 397 million extra pieces of protection kit had been shipped in for "amazing" NHS staff.
Mr Johnson said: "Let's be in no doubt this has been a sad, sad day, 563 more cases, a record in a single day.
"Our thoughts go out to the families of the victims and all their friends.
"But let's be in no doubt, that if we can follow the programme that we're currently set upon, if we can comply with the measures that we've embarked on together then I have absolutely no doubt that we will begin to start to push those numbers down.
"We will turn the tide of the coronavirus in the next few weeks and months."
His comments came before it emerged more than 70 NHS workers at Great Ormond Street have been diagnosed with the bug with 318 off sick.
The government has faced criticism after it was revealed just 2,000 NHS staff – out of 550,000 – have been tested for coronavirus.
Thousands of doctors, GPs, nurses and paramedics are stuck in quarantine because they, or someone at at home, has symptoms.
Around 85 per cent could return to work if they knew they weren't carrying the virus.
The Sun Online has contacted Public Health England and the Cabinet Office for comment.
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