Covid: UK virus deaths exceed 100,000 since pandemic began

There are three main ways of calculating the death toll from coronavirus: those who died within 28 days of being tested positive for covid (the official government measure announced on the media each day); those who had the virus mentioned on their death certificate (a wider measure from the Office of National Statistics); and excess deaths (a calculation comparing the level of all deaths in a given period to an average of the same period over the previous five years).

Some time ago, deaths from covid in the UK passed the 100,000 mark on the measure of excess deaths. Now the 100,000 figure has been exceeded on the ONS measure. In the next few days, even the Government’s measure will go over 100,000.

Any figure would represent an absolute tragedy for the people who have died and the families and friends whom they have left behind. But, when you remember that – at the beginning of the first lockdown – we were told that we would do well as a nation to keep deaths to 20,000, the current figure is heartbreaking. It is one of the highest death rates in the world.

The UK death toll should start to level off as the vaccines have their beneficial effect, but this nightmare is still far from over. And, if anyone tells you that lots of people die from seasonal flu each winter, remind them that a typical death toll from winter flu is 8,000.

Footnote: Later in the day, the government announced that, by its measure, the death toll had now reached 100,162.


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