How the UK’s Covid-19 death rate has plummeted

In three months the UK has gone from having one of the highest global death rates to one of the lowest. 

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In April last year the UK was suffering around 800 Covid-19 deaths a day, and three months ago the daily death toll was more than 1,000. But the national daily death figures for April 2021 are the lowest since September last year.



In January, when the third national lockdown was imposed, the UK had the highest daily per capita death rate in the world. But despite Boris Johnson being allegedly so opposed to another lockdown that he would rather “let the bodies pile high in their thousands”, his government ultimately enforced restrictions, and the UK is now recording fewer than 50 deaths a day.

Although it is likely that the easing of lockdown and the reopening of hospitality will lead to a rise in Covid-19 cases, experts are hopeful that the UK’s vaccination programme will prevent those cases from translating into a rise in deaths. 

“It’s inevitable, as we unlock there will be a rise in cases,” professor Calum Semple, a member of Sage, told Sky News. “The key here is we have won the race to vaccinate the most vulnerable members of society so we can keep society open this time?”

Around 500,000 vaccinations are being administered daily and half of the country’s adult population has received at least one dose. 

[See also: International coronavirus vaccine tracker: how many people have been vaccinated?]

Katharine Swindells is a New Statesman Media Group data journalist. 

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