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Coronavirus UK: 85 new fatalities in preliminary death toll

Britain’s Covid-19 death toll today topped 45,000 as officials recorded just 85 more victims and Scotland has now gone an entire week without suffering a single fatality. 

Just 75 Britons are now dying of coronavirus each day, on average. In comparison, the rate last Wednesday was 87 after health chiefs revealed 126 more people had succumbed to the life-threatening infection.   

But the average number of new cases are still higher than they were last week — despite dropping for the second day in a row, suggesting the outbreak is not shrinking as quickly as officials hoped.

Department of Health statistics show 584 Britons are testing positive for the virus each day on average, after 538 more cases were confirmed today. 

The rate is 7 per cent higher than last Wednesday’s rate of 546 because of a spike in cases over the past week — even though the actual number of new infections is lower (630). 

In other coronavirus developments in Britain today:

  • Boris Johnson insisted he does not have a ‘magic wand’ to save jobs as he admitted a wave of redundancies is looming because of the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the economy;
  • Hopes for a working Covid-19 jab grew as two trials in the UK and US — by Oxford University and American firm Moderna — reported promising results in their early experiments;
  • The Health Secretary admitted he is ‘worried’ about the long term impact of coronavirus, with thousands of ‘long-haulers’ suffering fatigue and heart problems months after beating the disease;
  • The government’s face mask rules descended further into confusion as Matt Hancock insisted they must be worn to get takeaway coffee but not in pubs — and denied that they will be compulsory in offices; 
  • England’s coronavirus R rate was just 0.57 in May — significantly lower than Government scientists thought it was, Imperial College London researchers claimed; 
  • Pendle became the second Lancashire borough at risk of retreating back into lockdown because the disease is spreading out of control there, after a spike in cases in Blackburn with Darwen;
  • Rodent infestations across the UK have surged 42 per cent during Britain’s coronavirus lockdown, according to an analysis by an insurance company.

COVID-19 DEATH RATES WERE FOUR TIMES HIGHER IN CITIES THAN REMOTE AREAS 

People living in larger urban areas were four times more likely to die with Covid-19 than those in remote locations over the past four months, according to official figures.

National Records of Scotland (NRS) data shows between March 1 and June 30, there were 116.8 age-standardised deaths involving Covid-19 per 100,000 people in large urban areas.

In contrast, the rate was just 26.8 per 100,000 in remote rural locations. 

The gap was substantially smaller when considering the rate of deaths from all causes, where it was 1.4 times higher in large urban areas than in remote rural areas. 

People in the most deprived areas of the country were 2.1 times more likely to die with Covid than those living in the least deprived parts, the analysis found. 

As of July 12, the overall coronavirus death toll for Scotland stood at 4,173, with 13 deaths in the week to Sunday – a decrease of five from the previous week. 

This is the 11th weekly reduction in a row, and the lowest weekly total since mid-March. 

It comes as lockdown restrictions continue to ease in phase three of the Scottish Government’s route map out of lockdown. 

Barbers and hair salons can reopen from Wednesday with enhanced hygiene measures in place, as can indoor pubs and restaurants. 

NRS figures show deaths involving Covid-19 accounted for 1 per cent of all those registered between July 6 and July 12, down from a peak in week 17 when Covid-19 deaths accounted for 36 per cent of all fatalities. 

The NRS analysis also shows the highest number of deaths involving Covid-19 of working people aged 20-64 by occupation group were among process, plant and machine operatives, where the age-standardised death rate was 25.1 per 100,000 population. 

Compared to the average death rate of deaths involving Covid-19 for all occupations, which was 10.2 per 100,000 population, health workers had a lower death rate (6.4) whilst social care workers had a higher rate (14.4). 

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Department of Health figures released yesterday showed 144,000 tests were carried out or posted the day before. The number includes antibody tests for frontline NHS and care workers.

But bosses again refused to say how many people were tested, meaning the exact number of Brits who have been swabbed for the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been a mystery for a month — since May 22.

Health chiefs also reported 398 more cases of Covid-19. Government statistics show the official size of the UK’s  outbreak now stands at 291,373 cases. 

But the actual size of the outbreak, which began to spiral out of control in March, is estimated to be in the millions, based on antibody testing data.

It means the rolling average of daily cases dropped from 624 to 597, after it rose for three days in a row. It was higher than it was last Tuesday (575). 

The daily death 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.

The data 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 as well as Northern Ireland are always out of sync.

And 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’.

More than 1,000 infected Brits died each day during the darkest days of the crisis in mid-April but the number of victims had been dropping by around 20 to 30 per cent week-on-week since the start of May. 

NHS England today posted 22 deaths in hospitals across the country. Two fatalities were recorded in all settings in Wales but none were registered again in Northern Ireland or Scotland.  

It comes as Nicola Sturgeon today revealed that Scotland has now gone a full week without any new coronavirus deaths.

Speaking during the daily briefing in Edinburgh, the First Minister said no Covid-19 deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours among patients who have tested positive for the virus.

The latest figures show 18,373 people have tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up by five from 18,368 the day before.

Ms Sturgeon also said that on three days in the week to July 9, there were no admissions to hospital of confirmed Covid-19 cases and there have been six days in total since June 26 with no coronavirus admissions.

Ms Sturgeon said: ‘If I think back to the early part of April, into May, what I would have given to stand here and give you figures like that.

‘At the peak of this outbreak more than 200 people were for a period being admitted to hospital every day. Let’s not take the risk of going back to that.’

HOPES RISE OF A COVID-19 JAB BREAKTHROUGH AS TWO TRIALS IN UK AND US SHOW PROMISE

Hopes for a working Covid-19 vaccine are growing as two projects in the UK and US have reported promising results in their early experiments.

Teams from Oxford University and the American pharmaceutical company Moderna have both revealed people in their studies are showing signs of immunity.

They have been developing experimental jabs for months to try to protect millions of people from catching the coronavirus in future.

Oxford scientists have already said they are ’80 per cent’ confident they can have a jab available by September.

People being given the Oxford vaccine have been developing antibodies and white blood cells called T cells which will help their bodies fight off the virus if they get infected, the researchers say.

And experts at Moderna, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said participants in their trial all successfully developed antibodies.

The vaccines work by tricking the body into thinking it’s infected with Covid-19 and causing it to produce immune substances that have the ability to destroy it.

While early research focused on antibodies, scientists are increasingly turning to a type of immunity called T cell immunity — which is controlled by white blood cells — which has shown signs of promise.

One source on the Oxford project told ITV News: ‘An important point to keep in mind is that there are two dimensions to the immune response: antibodies and T-cells.

‘Everybody is focused on antibodies but there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that the T-cells response is important in the defence against coronavirus.’

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The milestone came as Scotland eased lockdown restrictions further. The First Minister said: ‘Today marks the biggest step for Scotland out of lockdown so far.

‘The childcare sector can fully open from today, venues like museums, galleries and other attractions can also welcome visitors from today, although in many cases you will need to book tickets in advance.

‘Hairdressing services resume today, in fact I understand some opened at midnight (because of) demand. I wish I had known about that.’

Ms Sturgeon said the changes were ‘long-awaited’ and ‘hard-earned by everybody’ but admitted she is ‘even more nervous’ about the lockdown relaxation than earlier phases of coming out of lockdown. 

Many of the changes involve indoor activity, she said, adding that the risk of the virus spreading indoors, in a pub for example, is significantly higher than it is outdoors.

Ms Sturgeon added: ‘That is why we have deliberately waited until infection levels were very low before allowing these services to restart, that gives us the best possible chances of managing the risk that reopening indoor services creates.

‘But it doesn’t remove those risks, and so it is vital — more vital than it has been at any stage of this crisis so far — that all of us stick rigidly to the rules and guidance on how to behave in these different settings.’

Referring to fresh lockdown restrictions in California, where bars, cinemas and restaurants have had to close down again, she said: ‘That must be a reminder that our progress out of lockdown could yet go into reverse.

‘And it will go into reverse if we see signs that the virus is starting to spread widely in the community again. So all of us must do everything we can to ensure that doesn’t happen.’ 

It comes as hopes of a working Covid-19 vaccine grew today as two projects in the UK and US reported promising results in their early experiments.

Teams from Oxford University and the American pharmaceutical company Moderna have both revealed people in their studies are showing signs of immunity.

They have been developing experimental jabs for months to try to protect millions of people from catching the coronavirus in future.

Oxford scientists have already said they are ’80 per cent’ confident they can have a jab available by September.

People being given the Oxford vaccine have been developing antibodies and white blood cells called T cells which will help their bodies fight off the virus if they get infected, the researchers say.

And experts at Moderna, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said participants in their trial all successfully developed antibodies.

SECOND LANCASHIRE BOROUGH OF PENDLE WARNS OF COVID-19 OUTBREAK AFTER SPIKE IN BLACKBURN

The Lancashire borough of Pendle warned of a coronavirus outbreak today — after a spike in cases in nearby Blackburn with Darwen.

County health officials fear the district, home to around 92,000 people, is at risk of retreating back into lockdown if the disease continues to spread.

It had an infection rate of 73 new cases per 100,000 people in the week ending July 12, putting it second only to Leicester — the only place in Britain to have had a local lockdown imposed.

Lancashire’s director of public health Dr Sakthi Karunanithi has now given an ‘early warning’ for people to wash their hands often, stick to social distancing and wear masks in indoor public places. Dr Karunanithi admitted there had been a ‘slight increase’ in Covid-19 cases and said ‘We need your help now to… keep Pendle out of lockdown’.

The news comes as officials in Blackburn with Darwen — just 18 miles away — have placed new restrictions on residents meaning only two at a time will be able to visit other households. This differs from the national guidance, which says two households of any size can meet inside.

Residents have also been urged not to hug anyone they don’t live with and to get regularly tested for coronavirus.

Eighty-five per cent of the 114 cases diagnosed in the past fortnight were among its South Asian community, according to local health bosses.

It’s unclear what proportion of ethnic minorities make up Pendle’s new cases — but around 20 per cent of the authority’s population are of South Asian heritage. 

Cases in Blackburn with Darwen have soared from around 20 per 100,000 population to a rate of 47 since June 24

Cases in Blackburn with Darwen have soared from around 20 per 100,000 population to a rate of 47 since June 24

Cases in Blackburn with Darwen have soared from around 20 per 100,000 population to a rate of 47 since June 24

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The vaccines work by tricking the body into thinking it’s infected with Covid-19 and causing it to produce immune substances that have the ability to destroy it.

While early research focused on antibodies, scientists are increasingly turning to a type of immunity called T cell immunity — which is controlled by white blood cells — which has shown signs of promise.

One source on the Oxford project told ITV News: ‘An important point to keep in mind is that there are two dimensions to the immune response: antibodies and T-cells.

‘Everybody is focused on antibodies but there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that the T-cells response is important in the defence against coronavirus.’

In other developments today, the Lancashire borough of Pendle warned of a coronavirus outbreak — after a spike in cases in nearby Blackburn with Darwen.

County health officials fear the district, home to around 92,000 people, is at risk of retreating back into lockdown if the disease continues to spread.

It had an infection rate of 73 new cases per 100,000 people in the week ending July 12, putting it second only to Leicester — the only place in Britain to have had a local lockdown imposed.

Lancashire’s director of public health Dr Sakthi Karunanithi has now given an ‘early warning’ for people to wash their hands often, stick to social distancing and wear masks in indoor public places.

Pendle council said: ‘The overall rate and number of cases remains relatively low, but there are signs of ongoing household transmission’.

Dr Karunanithi admitted there had been a ‘slight increase’ in Covid-19 cases and said ‘We need your help now to… keep Pendle out of lockdown’.

The news comes as officials in Blackburn with Darwen — just 18 miles away — have placed new restrictions on residents meaning only two at a time will be able to visit other households. This differs from the national guidance, which says two households of any size can meet inside.

Residents have also been urged not to hug anyone they don’t live with and to get regularly tested for coronavirus.

Eighty-five per cent of the 114 cases diagnosed in the past fortnight were among its South Asian community, according to local health bosses.

It’s unclear what proportion of ethnic minorities make up Pendle’s new cases — but around 20 per cent of the authority’s population are of South Asian heritage.

Many other areas of England which have the current highest infection rates of Covid-19, such as Bradford, Rochdale and Oldham, also have large South Asian communities.

A Bank of England policymaker today said the UK economy is set for an ‘incomplete V-shaped’ recovery from the coronavirus crisis with a bounce back likely to stall at the end of 2020 because of rising unemployment.

Bank interest rate-setter Silvana Tenreyro said an anticipated increase in the number of people without work, likely caused by the removal of Government support in the coming months, will slow consumer spending.

Meanwhile, continued social distancing in key parts of the economy like the hospitality sector and lingering coronavirus fears which may stop some shoppers from returning to the high street could also hinder growth.

Ms Tenreyro predicted an ‘interrupted’ or ‘incomplete’ V-shaped recovery as an initial rebound in activity loses steam towards the end of the year.

She said the first quarterly growth rebound will come between July and September as lockdown restrictions ease further, with data already pointing to a sharp pick-up in purchases due to lockdown rules being eased.

But she warned: ‘This will be interrupted by continued risk aversion and voluntary social distancing in some sectors, remaining restrictions on activities in others, and in general by higher unemployment.’

HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE REALLY DIED OF THE CORONAVIRUS?

Department of Health: 45,053

Department of Health’s latest death count for all settings stands at 45,053.

The daily 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. 

It also only takes into account patients who tested positive for the virus, as opposed to deaths suspected to be down to the coronavirus. Many people were not tested early on in the outbreak, meaning thousands are suspected to be missing from the total.

National statistical bodies: 55,720

Data compiled by the statistical bodies of each of the home nations show 55,720 people died of either confirmed or suspected Covid-19 across the UK by the end of May.

The Office for National Statistics confirmed that 50,698 people in England and Wales died with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 by July 3.

The number of coronavirus deaths was 835 by the same day in Northern Ireland, according to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).

National Records Scotland — which collects statistics north of the border — said 4,187 people had died across the country by July 12.

Their tallies are always 10 days behind the Department of Health (DH) because they wait until as many fatalities as possible for each date have been counted, to avoid having to revise their statistics.

Excess deaths: 64,698 

Excess deaths are considered to be an accurate measure of the number of people killed by the pandemic because they include a broader spectrum of victims. As well as including people who may have died with Covid-19 without ever being tested, the data also shows how many more people died because their medical treatment was postponed, for example, or who didn’t or couldn’t get to hospital when they were seriously ill.

Data from England and Wales shows there has been an extra 58,830 deaths between March 27 and July 3, as well as 4,867 in Scotland, and 1,001 in Northern Ireland.

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Source: Daily Mail

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