Britain’s coronavirus crisis may have already peaked, England’s chief medical officer today claimed as the daily death toll today stayed below 800 for the fourth day in a row.
Officials announced just 761 more COVID-19 victims in hospitals across the home nations, including a 20-year-old with no known underlying condition, taking the overall number of fatalities close to the 13,000-mark.
It is slightly down from the 778 fatalities recorded yesterday – but much lower than the 980 declared on April 10, considered Britain’s darkest day yet since the virus began spreading on British soil in February.
The positive news came as NHS hospitals said they were coping well with the influx of patients and have enough capacity in intensive care for anyone who needs it.
Government figures have already shown the number of hospital admissions is ‘plateauing’, and senior officials say Britain is finally starting to see the benefits of the lockdown imposed on March 23.
England’s CMO Professor Chris Whitty tonight sparked hope for millions of Britons that there was light at the end of the tunnel, saying: ‘We do all think this has flattened out.’ But he added: ‘We can’t be sure we’re past the peak.’
In Downing Street’s press conference, Professor Whitty said deaths will spike for a ‘short while’ and he expects the daily fatality count to go up tomorrow after a four-day Easter weekend.
Modelling by world-leading data analysts suggests the UKs death toll has also peaked and the curve is flattening, with scientists predicting Britain’s deadliest day to be on April 13. But Washington University academics have yet to adjust their projection to account for today’s low numbers.
Fears were yesterday raised that the true size of Britain’s coronavirus death toll could be 50 per cent higher than official figures because of a backlog in recording and the failure to include fatalities in care homes and hospices.
Separate figures released by Scotland today showed that 25 per cent of all deaths could be in care homes, which could mean the true size of the fatality count is around 15,000 if the same maths was applied to the rest of the UK.
The Health Secretary tonight paid tribute to World War II hero Captain Tom Moore, calling him ‘an inspiration to us all’ after he managed to raise more than £8million for the NHS by marching around his garden on a zimmer frame.
And Matt Hancock gave a further hint that lockdown measures would be extended tomorrow, saying: ‘We cannot let go of the hard work that’s been done so far… we will not lift these measures until it is safe to do so.’