UK Covid deaths just 6% of previous waves with 40 fatalities compared to 654 as Freedom Day to unlock UK tomorrow

UK Covid deaths are a fraction of what they were in previous waves prompting the government to push ahead with Freedom Day plans.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows that, despite a rise in cases, the seven-day rolling daily death rate is just 40, compared to 654 on December 26 when infection rates were about the same.

That brings the UK's Covid death count to just 6 per cent – or one sixteenth of what they were when during previous peaks, according to research carried out by The Telegraph.

Death rates in England and Wales are currently hovering at 5.2 per cent of the five-year average, data from the ONS shows, with Covid accounting for just 1.2 per cent.

Meanwhile, hospital admission are a quarter of what they were during the winter wave and the number of patients in hospital is one fifth of the level it was then.

The good news has prompted minister to push ahead with Freedom Day – the rolling back of Covid restrictions in England – on July 19 despite a steep rise in cases.

From Monday, people will be able to visit as many family and friends as they like while social distancing rules and the legal requirement to wear face masks will be scrapped.

But the Government warned it was ready to reimpose lockdown if the third wave becomes "unacceptable".

Solicitor General Lucy Frazer insisted Freedom Day must still go ahead on Monday, declaring: "If we don't do it now, when?"

She then warned: "If we get into a situation where it's unacceptable and we do need to put back further restrictions then that of course is something that Government will look at."

Professor Neil Ferguson – dubbed ‘Professor Lockdown’ – said he “can’t be certain” over whether restrictions will be reimposed after tomorrow’s unshackling. 

Appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show and asked if there was a likelihood of a return to restrictions, Prof Ferguson stressed it would be a decision for the government to make. 

He said: “Clearly, if we end up in a more, let's say, worst-case scenario … at the higher end of the modelling and the projections of two, three thousand hospital admissions per day, there may be a need to basically slow spread to some extent.”

Asked if there could be a lockdown again before Christmas, he replied: "You're asking me about six months ahead, that's harder."

He added: "I hope not, but I can't be certain."

Prof Ferguson said that the grim prospect of 100,000 cases a day was “almost inevitable” as the Delta variant continues to spread. 

He continued: “I mean, we could get to 2,000 hospitalisations a day, 200,000 cases a day, but it's much less certain.

"There, you are talking about major disruption of services and cancellation of elective surgery and the backlog in the NHS, getting longer and longer."

Deaths in England today increased by 25, bringing the total to 128,703.

Covid cases have risen by 100 per cent in a fortnight with a further 48,161 infections reported on Sunday.

Cases are up 53 per cent on last week’s total of 31,282 – and well over double the 23,858 infections reported a fortnight ago on July 4. 

Deaths have dropped slightly from the 26 recorded a week ago but remain above the 15 reported a fortnight ago. 

A further 740 people were hospitalised in the past 24 hours – an uptick on last Sunday’s figure of 585, and well above the 460 recorded on July 4.

In more positive developments, a further 67,217 Brits received their first dose of the vaccine yesterday, bringing the total number of people to receive their first jab to 87.9 per cent of the population while 68.3 per cent have received two.

The latest data also shows that the percentage increase in seven-day case rates has dramatically dropped in recent week, with cases increasing 24 per cent per week, compared to 74 per cent at the end of last month.

Analysis carried out by Public Health England and the University of Cambridge suggests vaccinations have so far prevented 11.8 million infections and almost 37,000 deaths in England alone.

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