Covid deaths hit lowest level for six months as experts call for FASTER end to lockdown

CORONAVIRUS deaths have plummeted to the lowest levels seen in six months, new data has revealed.

It comes as experts have called for a faster end to lockdown restrictions that are still in place across the country.

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Professor Angus Dalgleish, consultant oncologist, who was one of the signatories of a letter calling for the Government to end coronavirus restrictions said there's no reason for the government to wait until June 21 to lift the remaining rules.

Speaking to Good Morning Britain this week he said that restrictions should be lifted right away.

He said: "In my own professional capacity, we have people who've struggled and carried on with symptoms of cancer, too worried to come in to the hospital to get treatment, and now it's progressed further and their outlook is even worse.

"The fear of dying from a virus of less than one per cent, when they have got conditions which have got a far high percentage, some cases 100 per cent chance of killing them is so out of proportion and it's so frustrating.

He added: "We've got tens of thousands of cancer patients who should have been diagnosed and treated, with a much better outcome."

It comes as:

  • Millions more eligible for Covid jabs from TODAY as age limit lowered twice in a week
  • Brits to buy a pint without a vaccine passport after the PM shelved plans
  • UK Covid cases plunge 30 per cent in a week with 2,064 infections and six deaths recorded in last 24 hours
  • Boris Johnson denies he said he’d rather see ‘bodies pile high’ than order a 3rd lockdown
  • Hospital accidentally gives woman wrong second Covid vaccine in first error of its kind in Britain

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) states that a total of 362 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending April 16 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate.

This is the lowest number since the week ending October 2.

At this point England had not yet been put into a tier structure and people were still adhering to the rule of six – the tier structure came into force on October 14 as infections started to rise quicker in certain areas.

At present people are allowed to go to the pub outside, go the the gym and visit non-essential shops.

The next set of restrictions is set to be lifted on May 17.

The ONS data suggests that deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales have fallen 97 per cent since the peak of the second wave of the virus.

‘VERY PROMISING’ New data is postive but doesn’t relfect the current risk, expert says

DATA released by the ONS today states that Covid deaths are at their lowest since October.

One expert has however said that while the data is encouraging, there are still other concerns such as new variants that need to be monitored.

Speaking to The Sun Prof Paul Hunter, Professor in Medicine, The Norwich School of Medicine, University of East Anglia said the continued decline in case numbers and hospitalisations and deaths are all looking very promising.

"But as yet the impact of the 12th April relaxation is not evident in the figures.

"So if the 12th of April was going to lead to a further increase in deaths, we wouldn’t see that for another few weeks yet."

He explained that we will not yet know the true impact of restrictions easing at the start of April and said April 30 will be the first indication of the impact relaxation has had on deaths.

Prof Hunter added: "However early signs are that the 12th April was not a step to far and I am reasonably confident that we are still on target for the 17th May release.

"But I would not be pushing for an earlier release based solely on deaths which by their very nature do not reflect current risk.

"As to the June relaxation I think it is still far to early to say what may happen by then.

"Being able to meet in doors after 17th May will be a bigger challenge than the 12th April and also there is still the worries about the new variants which may or may not be a significant threat."

 

Some age groups have recorded drops as high as 98 per cent or 99 per cent, as the combined impact of the lockdown and the vaccine rollout continues to drive down the number of infections and hospital admissions.

The data also shows that deaths have fallen off in age groups 75-79, 80-84 and 85-89 -recording drops of 97 per cent.

For people aged 65-69 the fall was 96 per cent and for those aged 60-64 it was 95 per cent.

In the oldest age group, the drop was even sharper and for those over 90 the rate has fallen 98 per cent from the second-wave peak.

And for people in the 70-74 age group, deaths have dropped by 99 per cent.

The data does however show that there was a 1,340 jump in the number of deaths recorded in the week ending 16th April.

One expert however, said that this is "no cause for concern".

Prof Paul Hunter, Professor in Medicine, The Norwich School of Medicine, University of East Anglia, said: "The previous weeks figures were artificially low because of deaths not being recorded on the run up to Easter so this last week’s figures include deaths what would normally have been included in the previous week.

"Overall the number of deaths with Covid is following the same downward trend as is seen in the daily reports of deaths on the DHSC (Department of Health and Social Care) Dashboard.”

These figures show that lockdown restrictions and the success of the vaccine rollout have played a crucial role in stopping the virus spreading across communities.

FURTHER EASING

Prime Minister Boris Johnson today added that it was "likely" the UK would be able to open up once more in June.

He said that "as things stand I think we've got a very good chance of really opening up totally on June the twenty-first" – when he hoped to lift all rules.

The PM hasn't yet confirmed things can go back to normal, but ministers hope to lift all Covid rules by June 21.

King's College London's Professor Tim Spector, who is also the lead scientist on the ZOE Symptom Tracker app also last week said that restrictions could be lifted in areas where infections were low.

He told The Sun: "We are just a month away from further easing.

"Personally, I would like to see restrictions in care homes, where residents have been fully vaccinated, lifted as soon as possible to stop further suffering for those who haven’t been able to see their families for more than a year.

"Also, the Government could be looking at easing restrictions in parts of the country that have low infection rates like the South West and South East, as in these places there is limited risk right now."

Prof Spector highlighted how care home residents have now been vaccinated as well as millions more Brits across the country.

The PM also warned there will "probably be another wave" of Covid in the UK, but our smashing vaccine rollout will provide "robust fortifications" against it.

 

There are three jabs currently being rolled out across the UK, the Oxford/AstraZeneca, the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Moderna jab.

So far 33.7 million Brits have had their first dose of a jab with 12.8 now having had their second.

Today it was revealed that millions more Brits would be eligible for their jab.

The age has been lowered for the second time this week, meaning more people in their 40s are able to book their vaccine appointment.

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