COVID deaths today pushed 1,000 for the third day in a row as cases rose by a further 48,682.
The total number of people who have lost their lives to the disease in UK now stands at 86,015 after 1,248 deaths were reported today.
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A further 48,682 people have tested positive – bringing the total to 3,212,733 – as a mutant strain continues to rampage across the country.
Yesterday saw the deadliest day of the pandemic after 1,564 more people died in the highest daily death toll so far.
Today is the third highest daily rise of deaths and the fourth time more than 1,000 fatatlies have been recorded in a 24-hour period.
It comes as…
And this has been the deadliest week in the pandemic so far – with an average daily death toll of 931 in the last seven days.
During the first wave of Covid early last year, the highest seven-day average – between April 6 and April 12 – stood at 920.
In England today, 884 people have died in hospitals – bringing the total to 58,712.
The latest victims were aged between 27 and 101 with all but 48 having known underlying health conditions.
Wales suffered 54 new deaths with their total now at 4,117.
A further 64 have died in Scotland giving a total of 5,116.
While in Northern Ireland, 16 more people died – bringing the total to 1,533.
It comes as Professor Lockdown today warned Brits could be stuck inside under the current rules until Autumn due to the mutant strain.
Professor Neil Ferguson, whose modelling led to the first lockdown, said the UK needs the “highest vaccine coverage possible” before rules are loosened.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today show, the senior epidemiologist today warned that “we need to be very cautious on how we relax restrictions”.
He added: “We couldn’t have predicted this new variant coming up, but the new variant without doubt will make the relaxation of restrictions more difficult because it is substantially more transmissible.
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“So it will be a gradual process to the autumn.”
His comments came as some large high street pharmacies, including Boots and Superdrug, began rolling out Covid vaccines.
Six stores across England can administer the jabs from Thursday as the Government aims to hit its target of vaccinating around 15 million of those most at risk by mid-February.