Britain has the highest coronavirus death rate in the world, with figures on Tuesday showing at least one in eight people have been infected in England.
Deaths in the UK over the last month are 40 per cent above average, according to the Office for National Statistics.
It is estimated that the current realistic figure for the number of Covid-related deaths is close to 96,000, with the disease infecting up to 50,000 people a day.
While Britain's mass vaccination programme is proving a success, with more than four million people already having received the first of two doses, the country is facing weeks of high fatalities before transmission rates are expected to fall.
Britain recorded 16 Covid-related deaths per one million people each day, surpassing the Czech Republic, which had the world’s highest death toll for the last week.
The UK’s death rate, according to Our World in Data figures, is double that of Italy and significantly more than that in both the US and Germany, which are suffering 10 deaths per million. The UAE has 0.58 deaths per million people.
In the past week Britain suffered an average of almost 1,000 deaths a day.
The number of deaths is only greater in Mexico and the US, which both have far larger populations.
The UK now has the highest cumulative death toll in Europe and is only behind the US, Brazil, India and Mexico in the world total, countries that have far bigger populations.
The latest ONS figures show that with a further 6,586 Covid-19 deaths in Britain in the week to January 8 the total number of deaths recorded is 40 per cent more than the normal rate at this time of year.
The proportion of Britons testing positive for Covid-19 antibodies almost doubled between October and December 2020. One in eight people in England developed antibodies against the virus in December, accounting for 12 per cent of the population infected, according to ONS estimates.
That is the equivalent of 5.4 million people over the age of 16 infected.
With 37,000 people in hospital with Covid-19, far more than during the first wave of infection, the death toll is likely to continue at its current rate for a number of weeks.
“I’m afraid in the next weeks we do anticipate … the number of deaths will continue to rise as the effects of what everyone has done continue to feed through,” said Prof Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England.
"The peak of deaths, I fear, is in the future. The peak of hospitalisations in some parts of the country may be around now and beginning to come off the very, very top."