LONDON: The number of deaths in the UK hospitals from the novel coronavirus crossed the grim milestone of 20,000 on Saturday, up by 813 over the previous day, among the highest daily death tolls recorded this week.
These official figures released daily by the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care do not account for deaths that occur elsewhere in the community, which means the overall number of COVID-19 deaths in the country is much higher.
Last month, in response to a question at the daily Downing Street briefings, Stephen Powis, the Medical Director of National Health Service (NHS) England, said a total number of deaths under 20,000 “would be a good outcome.” However, that figure has now been crossed within 51 days of the first UK death recorded from the coronavirus.
The government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Valance, had also said it was the “hope” that the death toll would be kept below 20,000.
The UK’s death toll now makes it just one of a number of countries to have crossed the 20,000 fatalities mark, after France, Spain, Italy and the US.
The deaths in the community are measured separately by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), based on death certificates, with a weekly figure announced each Tuesday.
It is estimated that thousands more will have died in other settings such as care homes, at home, in hospices, with the latest ONS data on that recording 1,662 COVID-19 deaths up until April 10.