The UK on Tuesday hit another grey Covid-19 milestone as the country’s death toll from the deadly virus crossed 100,000 since the peak of the pandemic last year, with another 1,631 daily deaths.
With the entire country still under a national lockdown to slow the spread of the virus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Tuesday it was “hard to compute the sorrow” of the statistic in a national address, and offered his “deepest condolences to anyone who has lost a loved one.”
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) assessment of death certificate data reveals that there have been nearly 104,000 deaths since last year. The UK government’s daily death toll figures rely on positive coronavirus tests in the past 28 days and are therefore slightly lower, at 98,531.
The ONS figures show that a total of 7,245 registered deaths in England and Wales mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate in the week ending January 15, which is up from 6,057 deaths the week before and is the highest weekly number since April 24, 2020.
Half of the more than 100,000 deaths in the U.K. have come since November, when the virus, which reached low levels in the population over the summer, began spreading with renewed speed. In December, scientists identified a new variant of the virus in the U.K. that was up to 70% more transmissible. On Jan. 22, the variant could be up to 30% more deadly, too.
The U.K. has had two main gushes of COVID-19 infections. At one stage at the beginning of the pandemic it was the worst-hit country in Europe in terms of infections and deaths; now, at the peak of the second wave, it again has more total cases and deaths than any other European country.