Britain’s Covid wave still shows no signs of flaring up again as both cases and hospitalisations continue to trend downwards.
UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) chiefs logged another 12,487 positive tests over the last 24 hours, down by a tenth in a week.
The case numbers are becoming increasingly unreliable now free swabs have been stopped for the vast majority of Britons. Experts and Tory MPs have called for the Government to ditch the daily updates as the final part of the ‘living with Covid’ strategy.
UKHSA’s daily figures also show 896 people infected with the virus were admitted to hospitals across the UK on Sunday, the latest day figures are available for. This was down by a quarter in a week.
And the number of virus-infected Britons in hospitals dropped to 11,256 — the lowest figure seen in two months.
Another 438 fatalities within 28 days of a positive test were announced today, 76.6 per cent higher than last week. But day-to-day counts can fluctuate heavily.
It comes as World Health Organization analysis today revealed the global pandemic death toll is nearly three times higher than the official tally. In the most detailed look into the pandemic’s fatality count yet, the WHO estimated almost 15million deaths were logged from the start of 2020 to the end of 2021. The current official virus death toll is 6.2million.
In the most comprehensive look into the pandemic’s fatality count yet, the WHO estimated that almost 15million deaths were logged from the start of 2020 to the end of 2021. Peru has logged the most excess deaths in relation to its population, with an extra 437 fatalities for every 100,000 people than expected. The US had the 40th highest excess death rate (140 per 100,000), while the UK came 56th (109 per 100,000)
WHERE HAVE THE MOST CONFIRMED COVID DEATHS BEEN LOGGED?
HIGHEST DEATH TOLL
HIGHEST DEATH TOLL RELATIVE TO POPULATION (per million people)
Bosnia and Herzegovina: 4,831.68
North Macedonia: 4,457.28
Source: Our World in Data
The UKHSA figures show 10,311 cases were reported in England, while Scotland logged 1,663 infections, Northern Ireland recorded 362 and Wales detected 151.
Around 280,000 test results were reported in the last 24 hours, down from more than 2million per day at the height of the Omicron wave in January.
Some 22.1million positive tests have been reported since the start of the pandemic.
Hospital data shows another 896 patients Covid infection patients were admitted across the UK on May 1, down by 23.4 per cent on the 1,169 admissions one week earlier.
And the number of virus in-patients fell to 11,256, a drop of 17.8 per cent compared to seven days earlier.
NHS England data shows just 40 per cent of infected patients were primarily admitted to hospital because they were unwell with the virus, while the others sought hospital care for another reason.
Death data shows 438 fatalities were logged within 28 days of a positive test, up 76,6 per cent compared to the 248 daily deaths logged one week earlier.
It comes as analysis from the WHO today revealed Covid’s death toll is nearly three times higher than the official count, at 14.9million.
For comparison, the current official virus death toll is 6.2million, with a third of those logged in the US, Brazil and India.
The UN agency’s tally, which misses off the entirety of 2022, includes people who directly died from Covid or the virus’s impact on overwhelmed health systems.
The WHO said 20 countries, including the UK and the US, accounted for more than 80 per cent of the estimated ‘excess deaths’ over the first two years of the pandemic.
The vast majority of the fatalities (84 per cent) occurred in South-East Asia (5.9million), Europe (3.3million) and the Americas (3.23million), followed by Africa (1.3million), Eastern-Mediterranean (1.1million) and the Western Pacific (0.1million).
Peru had the highest excess death rate per 100,000 people (437), followed by Bulgaria (415), Bolivia (375), North Macedonia (369) and Russia (367). The US had the 40th highest excess death rate (140 per 100,000), while the UK came 56th (109 per 100,000).
Its analysis also confirms that more men were struck down by Covid than women, with 57 per cent of virus deaths among men.
WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the ‘sobering’ figures should prompt nations to invest in more resilient health systems to quell future crises.
Meanwhile, one of the Government’s most out-spoken scientific advisers today likened catching Covid to child abuse.
Professor Stephen Reicher, a member of an influential SAGE sub-group, compared society’s former indifference to parents beating their children to the supposed lack of concern about the virus’s long-term harms.
The psychologist, from the University of St Andrews, tweeted: ‘Years ago, we used to hear “my parents beat me and it didn’t do me any harm”. We don’t hear that any more.
‘Nowadays many say “I’ve had Covid and it didn’t do me any harm”. As the evidence mounts, they might not be saying that in the future.’
His comments came in response to a major Cambridge University study that found being hospitalised with Covid can drastically age the brain.
Severely ill patients can suffer problems with their thinking and memory that is only comparable to ageing 20 years, the research claimed.
However, Professor Reicher faced backlash on Twitter from some who accused him of misrepresenting the findings — based on hospitalised patients at the start of the pandemic, when the virus posed a much graver threat.
Covid now causes a mild illness for the majority, thanks to the build-up of immunity from vaccines and numerous waves as well as the milder nature of Omicron.