UK’s Covid-19 death toll passes 200,000

Hospital admissions have increased owing to a subvariant of the Omicron strain

Britain reached the 200,000 Covid-19 death toll on June 25. PA
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The UK has recorded more than 200,000 coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic began, government figures show.

The grim milestone comes as infections and hospital admissions are once again on the rise, driven by the coronavirus subvariant Omicron BA.2 – although the number of deaths remains well below levels reached in previous waves.

A total of 200,247 deaths related to coronavirus have now been registered in the UK, the Office for National Statistics has said.

This includes all instances where Covid-19 has been mentioned on someone’s death certificate, either as a main cause of death or a contributory factor.

The 200,000 mark was reached on June 25, but has only now been confirmed owing to the time it takes for deaths to be registered.

Covid-19 deaths have remained low by historic standards during each of this year’s waves, reflecting the success of vaccination in weakening the link between infection and serious illness.

Analysis of ONS data shows the number of deaths involving coronavirus in the UK each week has remained mostly below 1,000 since early last year, peaking between 1,000 and 2,000 whenever the number of infections jumped, PA reported.

Woman wearing a face mask crossing Waterloo Bridge, London.

By contrast, during the wave fuelled by the Alpha variant in January 2021, the weekly figure peaked at nearly 10,000.

The number times Covid-19 has been mentioned on death certificates is the most reliable and consistent measure of coronavirus mortality, because it not affected by factors such as reduced levels of testing, as happened in the early months of the pandemic.

It is now the only UK-wide measure of mortality.

An alternative method, based on the number of people who died within 28 days of testing positive for the disease, was discontinued recently after health authorities in Scotland and Northern Ireland stopped reporting the figures.

Jo Goodman, co-founder of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice campaign, called the 200,000 deaths “a tragedy” and “yet another damning milestone of the Government’s handling of the pandemic”.

She added: “454 people died within 28 days of a positive test from Covid just last week and yet the Government refuses to take even basic steps to protect people from the virus.

“By, for instance, making people pay for tests, not enforcing adequate sick pay or taking measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in hospitals, the Government is effectively throwing the most vulnerable in our society to the wolves.”

Around nine in 10 deaths with Covid-19 on the death certificate since the start of the pandemic have coronavirus as the primary cause of death, with a minority listing the virus as a contributory factor.

The sharp slowdown in deaths over the past 18 months is illustrated by the way it took just 61 days for the cumulative total to climb from 100,000 to 150,000, but a further 474 days to go from 150,000 to 200,000.

Updated: July 13, 2022, 11:00 AM