UK coronavirus death toll climbs 964 with record 55,892 reported cases

The UK coronavirus death toll has risen by 964, with a record 55,892 cases recorded on the last day.

Thursday’s total positive tests exceed the previous high of 53,135 new laboratory-confirmed cases set on Tuesday by nearly 3,000.

This brings the total number of cases in the UK to 2,488,780.

The daily death toll of 964 is the second highest in the second wave of the pandemic after 981 deaths were confirmed on Wednesday.

Britain’s official death toll now stands at 73,512 dead within 28 days of a positive test, although the actual total, including death certificates mentioning Covid-19, is over 88,000.

The latest figures were announced as the UK’s busiest hospital has gone into ‘disaster medicine mode’ and has been unable to provide ‘high level intensive care’ as it is overwhelmed by of Covid-19 patients, it is claimed.

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An NHS doctor at Frimley Park Hospital in Frimley, Surrey
NHS hospitals are treating record numbers of coronavirus patients (stock photo)

Dr Julia Grace Patterson, founder of the NHS Every Doctor UK campaign group, claimed on Twitter that the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel had sent an email to inform staff of the dire situation.

It comes a day after doctors at East London Hospital urged bosses to report a major incident as staff were at ‘breaking point’ as the number of coronavirus patients tripled in just five days – from 200 on Christmas Eve to 638 on Tuesday.

As UK hospitals come under increased pressure during the devastating second wave of Covid-19, Dr Patterson tweeted: ‘From the Royal London Hospital this email from management:’ We are now in fashion disaster medicine.

“” We are no longer providing high level intensive care, because we cannot. “The content of this email is SHOCKING.”

Professor Alistair Chesser, Medical Director of the Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the Royal London, said: “The rapid expansion of intensive care beds in our hospitals has led to needed changes in the clinical staffing model , in accordance with national guidelines.

“Despite this, our dedicated staff provide high quality care to all who need it through their dedication and skill.”

Addressing the 964 deaths announced Thursday, Dr Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director of Public Health England, said: “We know that the overwhelming majority of deaths reported today are people who have sadly died in the past few days. Each life lost to this disease is It is imperative that we all act now to protect our families and friends.

“We’ve all had to make huge sacrifices this year, but be sure to keep your distance from others, wash your hands and wear a mask. A New Years night will mean you drastically reduce your social contact and can help stop the spread of the virus. “



Ambulances lined up outside the Royal London Hospital on Tuesday

Earlier Thursday, NHS England reported 529 more deaths, including 106 in London.

In Scotland, a total of 2,622 new cases have been reported in the past 24 hours, after 2,045 infections were recorded on Wednesday and 1,895 on Tuesday.

Another 68 deaths were also reported on Thursday, bringing the death toll in Scotland under the measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus in the previous 28 days – to 4,578.

Seven deaths linked to Covid-19 were recorded between Friday, December 25 and Tuesday, December 29 – although the Scottish government noted that registrars were closed during public holidays – and 43 more deaths were reported on Wednesday.

There have been 1,831 other cases of the coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 148,537.



This graph shows the daily number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK
The daily number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK

Public Health Wales has reported 65 more deaths, bringing the total in Wales since the start of the pandemic to 3,494.

Eleven other people have died from Covid-19 in Northern Ireland, the Department of Health said.

Another 1,929 people have tested positive.

The occupancy rate of hospital beds is 467, of which 34 are in an intensive care unit and 27 on a ventilator.

Overall bed occupancy, including non-Covid patients, is 100%, with just six unoccupied.

A total of 107 coronavirus outbreaks in nursing homes are being treated.

Meanwhile, medics working on the front lines of Britain’s battle against the disease have pleaded with Britons not to mingle with others on New Years Eve, with hospitals increasingly under strain every day.



This graph shows the number of Covid-19 patients in hospital in England
Infection rates continue to rise in all parts of England

Critical care physician Professor Hugh Montgomery has warned people who don’t wear masks and continue to mix unnecessarily have “blood on their hands.”

He said anyone who thought it was okay to “spend an extra night” was spreading the virus.

He told BBC Radio Five Live: “Anyone who listens to this who is not wearing their mask and behaving like this – they have blood on their hands, they are spreading this virus. Other people will spread it and people will die.

“They won’t know they killed people, but they did.”

Professor Montgomery said the consequences of “bad behavior” at Christmas will not be visible in intensive care units until next week, and the results of any similar action by people on New Years Eve will be seen. smell in hospitals about 10 days later.

In England, NHS hospitals are treating record numbers of Covid-19 patients and infection rates continue to rise in all regions, according to the latest weekly surveillance report from Public Health England.

This week, ambulances were seen lining up outside hospitals, including the Royal London and Queen’s in Romford, both in east London, and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.


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The number of people testing positive for the virus in England also hit a new high, with a total of 232,169 in the week to December 23 – the highest weekly total since Test and Trace launched in May.

Nightingale hospitals across England are ‘ready’ for use if needed as the number of Covid patients rises.

London’s NHS has been urged to ensure the Excel center site is “reactivated and ready to admit patients” as hospitals in the capital scramble.

Nightingale’s other hospital sites across England include Manchester, Bristol, Sunderland, Harrogate, Exeter and Birmingham.

On nightingales, an NHS spokesperson said: ‘London hospitals are under significant pressure due to high rates of Covid-19 infection and as staff go the extra mile and London NHS opens more beds in NHS hospitals across the capital To care for the sickest patients, it is essential that people do all they can to reduce the transmission of the virus.

“In anticipation of mounting pressures as the new variant of the infection spread, NHS London has been asked to ensure that London Nightingale is reactivated and ready to admit patients if necessary, and that the process is underway . “



Inside Nightingale Hospital in east London when it opened in March

The Exeter site received its first Covid patients in November when it began accepting those transferred from the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, which has been described as “very busy”.

Nightingale hospitals in Manchester, Bristol and Harrogate are currently in use for non-Covid patients, the spokesperson said.

He added: “The number of patients hospitalized at Covid is increasing sharply, so the remaining nightingales are ready to re-admit patients when needed, in line with best clinical practices developed during the first and second waves of coronavirus. “

Stephen Powis, Medical Director of NHS England, described Nightingale Hospitals as “our insurance policy over there as our last resort”.

He told the Downing Street press conference on Wednesday: “We asked all Nightingale hospitals a few weeks ago to be ready to take patients if necessary.

“Indeed, some of them are already doing it, in Manchester taking patients away, in Exeter managing Covid patients, and in other places managing diagnoses, for example.

“However, our first steps in dealing with additional demands from the NHS are to increase the capacity of existing hospitals – this is the best way to use our staff.”

Concerns have been raised about the already limited capacity of the health service to staff the Nightingale facilities.

Dr Nick Scriven, past president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “It is not ‘just the case’ to use Nightingale Hospital as there is simply no staff to work as originally intended (mini intensive care units). “

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