New coronavirus cases in the UK have soared by 33,470 in the past 24 hours, the latest official figures released today show.
Today’s figures from the Department of Health show the highest ever single day jump since the pandemic began, and a large increase on the 22,950 reported yesterday.
In recent days, new cases have been in the 20,000s. To see it go above 30,000 for the first time will spark fears of the health service being overran.
In the last seven days alone, the Department of Health officially reported 166,998 new cases.
Business secretary Alok Sharma, speaking live from Downing Street from 5pm today, revealed the average number of new cases is at 22,524 new cases a day, up from 22,398 a week ago.
There are currently 14,196 Covid-19 patients in hospitals across the UK, up from 12,406 a week ago.
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While 1,219 patients are in mechanical ventilation beds in hospital – up from 1,142 a week ago, Sharma added.
Figures for the latest number of deaths in the most recent 24 hour period will come out sometime later today.
But Sharma revealed the rolling seven day average of daily deaths within 28 days in the UK is now at 375 – up from 295 a week ago.
The death toll in the UK is higher than the other worst-affected countries in Europe and the number of people killed by coronavirus is only higher in the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico.
The previous highest daily total of new positive coronavirus cases in a 24 period was recorded on October 21, when 26,688 new infections were reported.
Today marks one week since the second lockdown began in England.
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The latest figures from the Department of Health today includes cases in hospitals, care homes and the community.
Last Thursday – November 5 – the death rose by 378 with 24,141 new cases, on the first day of England’s second lockdown.
While on Thursday, October 29, the death toll rose by 280 with 23,065 new cases, this was, at the time, the highest death toll since May 28.
Boris Johnson ordered England back into a month-long national lockdown amid concerns that a rising number of infections could overwhelm the NHS.
The government has been widely criticised by for moving too slowly into the two national lockdowns, for a shortage of personal protective equipment and for failing to protect the elderly in care homes.
Earlier today, the UK’s coronavirus death toll in hospital settings only increased by 411.
This was the biggest single-day increase in hospital fatalities in the UK on a Thursday since May 7, when 464 deaths were announced.
There have been 317 new deaths in hospitals in England, 45 in Scotland, 34 in Wales and 15 in Northern Ireland.
Statistics in hospitals use a different time frame, hence the difference between the two death tolls.
So far this week, yesterday, the UK passed the grim milestone of 50,000 deaths, as 595 more lives were lost – what was then the highest rise in the death toll in a single day since May 13, when 614 deaths were confirmed.
In the 24 hours to Wednesday, the official death toll rose to 50,365, with 22,950 new positive cases.
And this came just a day after the daily number of deaths passed 500 for the first time since mid-May when, on Tuesday this week, the death toll rose by 532, with 20,412 new cases.
Meanwhile on Monday of this week, 194 new deaths were reported, with 21,350 people testing positive.
Back in April, the UK’s chief scientific officer, Sir Patrick Vallance, told MPs that the aim was to keep deaths below 20,000, describing this as a “good outcome”.
Today’s figures come as King’s College data showed that the ‘R’ rate in the UK appears to now be below 1.
Deaths are still surging in the coronavirus second wave and, while the latest King’s analysis suggests the transmission rate of the virus has dropped across all four nations, it comes before the impact of the latest lockdown restrictions have had time to be fully measured.
The Midlands of England is still seeing it rise.
One source of data has uncovered the declining ‘R’ rate, putting it at 0.9 across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland this week.
The data comes from the ZOE Covid-19 Symptom app. It is not the government’s official ‘R’ rate measure – but is one of a number of sources tracking the transmission of the virus.
The anonymised data is government-funded analysed by King’s College researchers, and helps track infections and outbreaks across the UK.
It is separate to the NHS Test and Trace app, which is monitored by the Government, and the official ‘R’ rate which is published weekly by health authorities.
Test and Trace data released separately today showed 149,253 people had tested positive for Covid-19 in England at least once in the week to November 4.
This is the highest weekly number since the system was launched at the end of May and is an increase of 8% in positive cases on the previous week.
The ‘R’ rate is used by scientists to determine how many people each person infected with coronavirus is likely to spread it to.
Public health officials have deemed pushing the UK’s ‘R’ below 1 to be a vital target for authorities to be able control the spread of the virus.