Over 11,000 people are currently being treated for the disease across the country, down from over 13,000 last week. A slide presented at today’s daily press briefing showed admissions are falling in every region as the virus passes its peak.
London’s graph showed the steepest decline in new hospital cases. The capital was declared the epicentre of the UK’s outbreak back in March, when it was said to be three weeks ahead of the rest of England in terms of the scale of the virus. More than 4,000 people were admitted to hospital at one time during the height of the pandemic in London, but that figure has since dropped to below 2,000.
Figures also show less people are dying in hospitals in London than the rest of the country. The hospital death toll jumped by 244 today in England, bringing the confirmed total to 23,952.
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33 of the new deaths were in London, compared to 43 in the North East and Yorkshire and 44 in the North West.
London recorded 22% of the total number of Covid-19 deaths in England and Wales until 1 May, despite having only 15% of the population. In the month leading up to April 24, more people were killed by coronavirus in London than during the worst four-week period of the Blitz during World War II.
But in another good sign for the capital’s recovery, the rate of excess deaths is also falling at a faster pace than in the rest of England and Wales. Excess deaths refer to the number of deaths from all causes registered in any week which are above the five-year average for that week of the year.
Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show the capital recorded 1,033 excess deaths in the week ending May 1, compared to 1,146 in the North West and 1,332 in the South East.
The figure is a huge drop from just a few weeks earlier. Over 2,200 excess deaths were recorded in London in the week ending April 17, the worst one on record.
However, there are fears the progress could be reversed after lockdown restrictions were eased this week, with pictures showing crowds of commuters packed onto London tubes and buses, making social distancing impossible.
The London figures come after new data showed one of the most remote towns in the country has suffered the highest coronavirus infection rate in the UK. Barrow-in-Furness, which has a population of 67,000 people, has a rate of 882 cases per 100,000 people, reports Mailonline.
Barrow’s infection rate is therefore more than double that of Wales (365), triple England’s (244) and Scotland’s (251) and quadruple the rate recorded in Northern Ireland (220).
Experts have struggled to explain why the industrial town on the Furness peninsula in the North West has turned into a hotspot for the virus, but local public health officials say it may be skewed by higher testing figures.
Deputy leader of Barrow borough council, Lee Roberts, said high levels of deprivation may also have played a part.
An Office for National Statistics (ONS) report this month revealed that people living in the poorest parts of the country are dying at twice the rate of those in the wealthiest regions. Experts say they are exposed to the virus more because they are more likely to work in jobs that cannot be done from home, live in overcrowded homes and use public transport.
The poorest in society are also more likely to suffer from underlying health conditions and have compromised immune systems – putting them at an increased risk of falling badly unwell with coronavirus.
Over 33,000 people have lost their lives to Covid-19 in the UK, making it the second highest death toll in the world behind the US.
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