Deaths in London began to tail off LAST WEEK as scientists say Government’s own data offers more proof that Tier Four WAS working (but not quickly enough)
- London saw its death rate rise by 12 per cent in week to January 10, a quarter of the rise from the week before
- Covid-19 deaths may also be slowing in the East of England, after they rose by a smaller percentage last week
- And in Yorkshire – which faced months of tight controls under the old tier system – they may have peaked
- Experts say the levelling off in the capital suggests Tier 4 was enough to cut the spread of the virus
Coronavirus deaths began to tail off in London last week, according to official data that scientists say offers more proof Tier Four was helping to curb the spread of the virus.
Department of Health Covid figures suggest daily fatalities across the capital peaked by January 10, with the curve flattening to around 157 deaths a day. London’s daily death tolls are still rising but are increasing at a much slower speed than they were during December.
Scientists believe the data shows the Tier Four measures slowed down the second wave — and stopped the more infectious variant from spreading — because deaths are now plateauing three weeks after it came into force, which is roughly how long it takes for an infected person to die from the disease.
But they say even the toughest tier may not have been enough to thwart the disease and the Christmas-cancelling measures only worked because schools were shut for the holidays.
The capital was the first region to be plunged into the draconian measure — alongside swathes of the South East and East of England — just five days before Christmas, scuppering festive plans for millions.
Separate data shows the capital’s Covid infections and hospital admissions both peaked too soon for the national lockdown to have had an effect, bolstering claims the previous measures would have been enough to stop the virus. But some experts fear it wasn’t working fast enough for ministers against the new variant, leading them to hit the panic button and call a third lockdown for the whole of England.
A slowdown in Covid deaths also appears to be happening in the East of England, but in the South East there are only the ‘early signs’ of a plateau — although experts say they expect to see a levelling off by the end of this week.
In Yorkshire and the Humber — which did not endure Tier Four but faced months of tougher measures under the older tier system — daily deaths from the virus appear to have peaked, in an early sign of a similar fall in other regions.
SLOWING: Covid-19 deaths appear to be plateauing in the capital after they rose by 12 per cent in the seven days to January 10 to 157 a day, the latest date where data is available, but surged by 50 per cent the week before
SLOWING: The East of England – which was first into Tier 4 alongside London – appears to be following the capital’s trend. It has also seen a levelling off in deaths after they rose 24 per cent last week to 133 a day, but 32 per cent the week before
PEAKED?: Fatalities from the virus are level in Yorkshire and the Humber – which endured weeks of tougher measures under the old tier system. It appears they may now be dropping, after they declined three per cent in the week to January 10
RISING: Covid-19 deaths are still spiralling in the South East where they rose by 24 per cent last week compared to 20 per cent the week before despite the region being among the first into Tier 4. But there are early signs they could be levelling off, experts say, who add they would be ‘very surprised’ if they didn’t drop by the end of this week
RISING: Covid-19 deaths are also still rising in the South West, where they surged by 36 per cent last week to 50 a day compared to a 26 per cent jump last week to 37 a day
RISING: And in the West Midlands they were up by 44 per cent last week to 92 a day, compared to a 16 per cent rise the week before to 64 a day
RISING: Deaths are also shifting upwards again in the North West. They rose by 29 per cent last week to 89 a day, compared to an 11 per cent rise the week before to 69 a day
RISING: The East Midlands is also recording rising deaths. They surged by 24 per cent last week to 65 a day compared to by 20 per cent the week before to 52 a day
RISING: In the North East deaths are also heading in the wrong direction, jumping by 17 per cent last week to 30 a day compared to falling two per cent the week before to 26 a day
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN MY REGION?
Where are Covid-19 deaths still rising?
- North East
- North West
- South East
- South West
- West Midlands
- East Midlands
Where are Covid-19 deaths starting to slow?
- East of England
Where have Covid-19 deaths possibly peaked?
- Yorkshire and the Humber
Official figures for London suggest the number of deaths it is facing from Covid-19 is starting to plateau, in a sign Tier Four stifled the spread of the virus – including the more infectious variant.
Deaths leapt by 66 per cent in the week to December 27, after they spiralled by 38 fatalities a day from almost 58 to 94 by the end of the week.
They rocketed 50 per cent the following week, jumping by 46 to 140 a day by January 3.
But in the latest seven-day spell they rose by a quarter of the previous rate, rising by 17 deaths to just over 157 a day.
Experts say it is possible deaths from the virus could peak in the coming days and start to drop.
There is a lag of around a week between a Covid-19 death happening and it being reported in the Government’s figures, which means it only becomes clear how many people died from the virus on a certain day up to a week later.
Deaths occurring in hospital are recorded more quickly on the figures, experts say, but it can take two weeks to get deaths from the virus at home into the numbers.
The capital’s slowdown has mirrored the drop in the number of people being admitted to the capital’s hospitals suffering symptoms of the virus – which dropped by five per cent in the week to January 10 from 845 admissions per day to 810.
And Covid-19 cases have also declined 25 per cent in a week, plummeting from 12,990 on average on January 3 to 9,750 a day by January 10.
Professor Paul Hunter, a virologist at the University of East Anglia, said it was clear Tier Four was ‘probably sufficient’ to start bringing down infections, and with them hospitalisations and deaths.
‘There’s actually very little difference between from when Tier Four was in place because schools were closed anyway because of the holidays, and have now been closed by the national lockdown.’
But he added it would be advisable not to ‘read too much’ into deaths data at present because there can be a more than two week delay between someone dying from the virus and the fatality being registered.
‘For example, if one of my patients, back when I was working in a clinic, died I would sign the medical causes of death, which would typically be picked up within a day or two, and then they would have two weeks to notify that death.
‘So some of these deaths are being recorded and getting into the statistics quite quickly because they are happening in hospital but some (like those happening in the community) are taking a while to make it into the figures.’
He added he would be ‘very surprised’ if deaths didn’t also start to drop in the South East by the end of this week, because the number of infections and hospitalisations both appear to have already peaked in the region.
Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at Warwick Medical School, told MailOnline the figures show it ‘looks like Tier Four was having some effect – which will be reinforced by the current lockdown’.
‘Aside from deaths, coronavirus cases are already falling in every London borough,’ he said, suggesting the figures also show the toughest tier was driving down transmission before the national shutdown.
‘Falls in the infection rate of up to 30 per cent have been seen in some areas over the past week.’
But he added it was likely ministers hit the panic button and imposed a national lockdown because of the ‘general confusion and complacency’ that he said was brought about by the tier system.
‘I think that the unevenness of the tier system across the country along with general confusion and complacency against a backdrop of rising case numbers and deaths led the Government to impose the current lockdown,’ he added.
It comes amid fears London and Suffolk could lose out in the Covid vaccinations postcode lottery as millions of over-70s are offered jabs from today but only in areas where all the over-80s have already received their first dose.
Another five million people are being invited to receive their first dose, with some in Whitehall suggesting the roll out is going so well that the wider population could be covered by June rather than September.
In the capital vaccinations have been trailing behind the rest of the country, with Tory MPs voicing alarm that the supplies were being based on take-up of the flu vaccine last winter.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday that the nation was ‘nearly on the home straight’ as 50 per cent of all over-80s in England have been vaccinated.
Some 140 a minute are receiving a jab, putting Britain on course to vaccinate all adults by early autumn. However, one coronavirus patient is being admitted to hospital every 30 seconds.
NHS data shows the North East and Yorkshire made most headway in the first month of vaccinations, reaching 44 per cent of all over-80s. This was almost twice as fast as in the East of England and London, which only managed to immunise 27.9 per cent and 29.5 per cent of its most elderly residents, respectively.
The capital was downgraded to a ‘major incident’ on January 8 by the mayor Sadiq Khan, meaning its hospitals are at serious risk of being overwhelmed by spiralling admissions.
‘The situation in London is now critical with the spread of the virus out of control,’ the mayor said.
‘The number of cases in London has increased rapidly with more than a third more patients being treated in our hospitals now compared to the peak of the pandemic last April.
‘Our heroic doctors, nurses and NHS staff are doing an amazing job, but with cases rising so rapidly, our hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed. The stark reality is that we will run out of beds for patients in the next couple of weeks unless the spread of the virus slows down drastically.’
HOW HAVE DAILY COVID-19 DEATHS CHANGED IN MY REGION? GOVERNMENT FIGURES REVEAL SECOND WAVE IS SLOWING IN LONDON AND THE EAST
Region of England
East of England
Yorkshire and Humber
Covid deaths, December 27
Covid deaths, January 3
Covid deaths, January 10
KEY: Percentages are worked out as the rise from the previous week. The Covid-19 deaths are given as the average per day. All data is from the Government coronavirus dashboard.
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