Boris Johnson – UK Covid-19 death toll set to pass 100,000 – as Boris Johnson’s handling of worst European numbers questioned
The UK’s official Covid-19 death toll is set to pass 100,000 within the next 48 hours bringing attention back to Boris Johnson’s handling of the worst public health crisis in a century.
The Government said a further 592 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Monday, bringing the UK total to 98,531 – Europe’s worst figure and the fifth worst in the world after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico.
Daily death toll figures for Sundays and Mondays tend to be much lower than the rest of the week due to how data is collected. The figure for last Tuesday was 1,610 which, if close to being repeated on Tuesday 26 January, will take the official toll beyond 100,000.
Some scientists and opposition politicians have said the Prime Minister acted too slowly to stop the spread of the virus and then bungled both the Government’s strategy and execution of its response. Last year, Mr Johnson admitted that his Government could have handled the coronavirus crisis differently, and said there were “open questions” over the timing of his decision to lock down the country. He has resisted calls for an inquiry into the handling of the crisis despite his own chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, saying last week that NHS hospitals were now looking like “war zones”.
Jim McMahon, the shadow Transport Secretary, said the imminent 100,000 death toll was “shocking and deeply painful for so many suffering the loss of loved ones, and those fighting on the frontline to save people”.
Valerie Vaz, the shadow Commons leader, said: “Deaths from Covid-19 in the UK are approaching 100,000 rapidly, are the highest in Europe and as a result the NHS is under unprecedented stress. This is not the moment to relax the lockdown but a time to support our exhausted NHS staff by making sure we do the right things.”
Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 115,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.
Among healthcare workers – including doctors, nurses, ambulance staff and hospital porters – men had a statistically significant higher rate of death involving Covid-19 (44.9 deaths per 100,000 males), while for women the rate was not significantly different (17.3 deaths per 100,000), new figures published by the Office for National Statistics show.
Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “The fact the rate of death amongst nursing staff is significantly higher than the general population highlights the absolute need to properly investigate why this is happening and give them the protection they need.”