Mocked as ‘the sick man of Europe’ as coronavirus took hold last year, the dazzling success of the UK’s jab’s roll-out, combined with a tough lockdown – one of the strictest in the world – has forced down fatalities.
Sir David Spiegelhalter, a statistician at the University of Cambridge, and Anthony Masters of the Royal Statistical Society, say in the week ending March 19, 10,311 deaths were registered in England and Wales – a “remarkably low total”.
It comes as:
- Brits will offered two free Covid tests a week as a new single-shot jab looks set to save foreign holidays
- Boris Johnson prepares to make four big lockdown announcements today
- Covid deaths halve in a week while cases are the lowest they’ve been since last August
- British clubbers will hit the dance floor as part of a new trial next week
- A plan for vaccine passports in pub has been ditched by the PM in a huge boost for the industry
“But, from a statistical perspective, this is a remarkably low total, the lowest since 2014 for that week.”
Last year’s national restrictions saved more than 20 lives a week, they said.
However, the biggest single reason is the virtual eradication of winter flu.
“Flu hospitalisations are near to nil,” they said.
“Flu is much less infectious than Sars-CoV-2.
The good news comes as Boris Johnson prepares to announce further steps in his roadmap out of lockdown tonight[/caption]
“The distance we are all keeping from each other means, like countries in the southern hemisphere during their respective winters, we appear to have skipped our flu season entirely.
“That has saved many thousands of lives.”
But the experts say there’s also a tragic reason for the drop in deaths.
“There is the sad fact that some vulnerable people who died in the first wave would otherwise have survived another year and be dying now,” they said.
Denmark culled its entire mink population – around 17million of the creatures – over the winter after scientists raised concern about a powerful new coronavirus strain spreading through the animal population.
Europe has been badly affected by a bungled jabs roll-out.
EU leaders have repeatedly instated – and then partially suspended – the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, which is the workhorse of the UK’s vaccination programme.
Covid deaths in Britain may also be continuing to drop so sharply because fewer over-70s are falling ill in the first place.
In 52 areas of England, there have been no new cases of Covid in that age group for more than a week.
And while there’s usually a strict north-south divide – with the most recent epicentres for the Kent variant emerging in London and the south-east before travelling north – the new ‘notspots’ are spread across the country.
Burnley, Boston, Southwark and Stafford have all recorded zero cases in over-70s in recent days.
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