Britain is now recording more Covid-19 deaths each day for the size of its population than the US for the first time since June, data has revealed.
Both countries are currently recording around two Covid-19 deaths for every million people — but Britain’s rate stands slightly higher at 2.63, compared to 2.4 in the US.
The UK suffered far higher daily death counts in the spring, relative to its population. But over the summer, while Britain’s outbreak fizzled out, America’s failed to improve.
Now, coronavirus cases have picked up once again in Britain as it battles a ‘second wave’ and deaths are climbing at a fast rate. Around 180 Covid-19 patients are dying every day, double the rate ten days ago. It can take infected patients several weeks to fall seriously ill and die, meaning there is always a lag between cases and fatalities.
The US currently has the highest cumulative death toll in the world at 228,477. And researchers warned last week that the grim tally could pass half a million by February, in a worst-case scenario.
When looking at the total coronavirus death toll since the pandemic began, the two nations are on par with almost 700 deaths per million people so far. This is because the UK — which has endured around 45,000 Covid-19 deaths — is home to around 66million people, whereas the US’ population stands at around 330million.
The figures come amid soaring cases in both nations, with officials in the US posting a record-high of 83,757 new infections on Friday. Britain also posted its highest ever daily number of cases tally last week, registering 26,688 positive tests on Wednesday.
But top experts insist the scale of the Covid-19 crisis was much bigger during the first wave and that numbers now are only dwarfing those seen in the spring because of a lack of testing, which meant millions of infected patients were never spotted.
And MailOnline today revealed Britain’s Covid-19 outbreak appears to have slowed. Cases are currently rising by just 14 per cent each week, even though they were doubling every seven-to-eight days in September. Deaths are, however, still growing quickly because of the lag between getting ill and dying.
Officials in both nations have been highly criticised for their handling of the crisis. Donald Trump’s administration was blamed for ‘one of the greatest losses of American life in history’ by his presidential election rival Joe Biden, while Boris Johnson was accused of failing to act quickly enough in March.
Two people for every million in the population are dying from Covid-19 in the UK and US every day. But the UK’s seven day average is slightly higher, at 2.63 compared to 2.4
Some 19,790 more cases of Covid-19 were reported in the UK on Sunday
Britain recorded a further 151 Covid-19 deaths yesterday – more than double last Sunday’s total
More than 8.6million people are known to have been infected in the US, higher than in any other country
Daily deaths have remained steady since July after a brief dip in May and June
The US is battling one of the worst Covid-19 outbreaks globally, and never saw a dip in cases after the ‘first wave’, unlike Britain.
It’s now well into the dreaded surge in the autumn and winter months, which experts say will be fuelled by indoor social mixing, outbreaks at schools and colleges and pandemic fatigue.
A record 84,000 people were diagnosed with Covid-19 across the US on October 24, according to a Reuters tally of the current crisis.
And more than 1,100 new coronavirus deaths were reported on October 22 — the highest daily count in more than a month, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation last week claimed that deaths could rise to half a million by February, unless nearly all Americans wear face masks.
When the states’ death toll passed 200,000 on September 23, Dr Anthony Fauci, the top public health expert on the White House coronavirus taskforce, said the landmark was ‘very sobering, and in some respects, stunning’.
President Trump said in March if deaths were between 100,000 and 200,000, the country would have done a ‘very good job’. He also claimed that had the US not taken action, ‘you could have two million, 2.5 or three million’ dead in the future.
More than 8.6million people are known to have tested positive for Covid-19 in the US, higher than anywhere else in the world. But based on the size of its population, it slips to 14th place while the UK is 39th. Andorra comes top, with 52 cases for every 1,000 people.
All the American states are recording relatively steady or increasing cases each day. Only Hawaii is trending in the other direction, data shows. If the spike in cases is genuine, and not down to massively ramped up testing, deaths will inevitably rise.
A number of states recorded their highest-single day increases in new cases last week, including Florida where 5,557 people tested positive on October 22.
Both the UK and US share a government which has been highly criticised for its handling of the crisis
The US is now well into the dreaded surge in the autumn and winter months, which experts say will be fuelled by indoor social mixing, outbreaks at schools and colleges and pandemic fatigue
WHICH COUNTRIES HAVE THE HIGHEST DEATH TOLL?
Our World in Data shows that of all the 198 countries in the world, San Marino has had the highest death toll per 100,000 people by far.
San Marino, a mountainous state surrounded by Italy, has only seen 42 Covid-19 deaths since February. But this equates to a rate of 123 per 100,000 residents when its tiny population of 33,800 is taken into account.
It has only reported 742 confirmed Covid-19 cases since its first on February 27. But due to its small population, it means the coronavirus is highly prevalent, relative to the rest of the world.
It has had more than 22,000 cases per million people in total – the equivalent of two people in every 100 (two per cent). It’s twice the official rate of the UK – which has recorded 9,600 cases per million people, the equivalent of 0.9 people in every 100.
But experts insist at least 10 per cent of Britain has actually been infected since the virus first landed on UK soil in January. Millions of infected patients were never spotted because of the Government’s lacklustre testing regime.
San Marino’s estimate of prevalence is also likely to be an underestimate because a huge proportion of infected people are thought to never show any symptoms, meaning they never get swabbed.
Our World in Data, a website that publishes figures on large global problems using official sources, reveals the US is 11th and the UK 12th, with Andorra, Ecuador, and Mexico higher.
India, on the other hand, has had the third highest cumulative deaths in the world, with 112,161. But due to its huge population, it places 87th in deaths per population.
San Marino is followed by Peru (103), which is home to 32million people. A number of other South American countries – Bolivia (74), Brazil (73.9), Chile (72.9) and Ecuador (71.1) – are in the top 10 worst-hit nations.
Belgium (92.6), Andorra (89.3), Spain (74.3), the UK (66.1) and Italy (61.7) have had the highest death tolls per capita in Europe, after San Marino.
Researchers in the US said Belgium has suffered the most coronavirus deaths for the size of its population after they analysed data from 19 countries with more than five million citizens.
The study was designed to work out how many excess deaths there had been in America compared with 18 other countries.
All countries analysed were chosen because they had more than five million citizens and a GDP of at least $25,000 (£19,300) per capita, the researchers explain in their paper published in JAMA.
The University of Pennsylvania team said as of September 19, the US reported a total of 198,589 Covid-19 deaths – 60.3 deaths per 100 000.
Had it had a death toll comparable to Australia (3.3 deaths per 100 000), the US could have avoided 94 per cent of its deaths (187,661 fewer), the researchers revealed, as they blamed ‘weak public health infrastructure and a decentralised, inconsistent US response to the pandemic’.
But the US did not have the highest death toll from March to September, according to the small analysis. It was fourth, following Belgium (86.8), Spain (65) and the UK (62.6).
At the bottom of the table, South Korea and Japan have had less than one death (0.7) per 100,000 people, despite being two of the first countries to report coronavirus cases.
Oklahoma reported a record-high 1,829 new cases on Friday, and Ohio broke its record Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, recording more than 10,000 cases over those four days.
Cases are also rising in states including Utah, Texas and South Dakota, while Wisconsin extended a public health emergency order for the third time since 30 July.
North Dakota has seen a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in recent weeks and has been top in the US for the number of cases per population for two weeks, according to data cited by the Associated Press news agency.
Local leaders say the ‘sharp increase’ in new cases has engulfed the contact tracing system, which is imperative to stopping the crisis spiralling out of control.
A ‘backlog of positive cases have yet to be assigned to a case investigator,’ the North Dakota Department of Health said last week, adding: ‘Close contacts will no longer be contacted by public health officials; instead, positive individuals will be instructed to self-notify their close contacts.’
Many public health experts believe the US would be in a much better position, with a far lower death toll, had the Trump administration taken more action early on in the crisis.
President Trump has been repeatedly criticised over his administration’s handling of the outbreak, both in its lack of action and his own attitude to the risks of what he calls the ‘China virus’.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who Trump is up against in the election on November 3, said on September 21: ‘Due to Donald Trump’s lies and incompetence in the past six months, [we] have seen one of the greatest losses of American life in history.
‘With this crisis, a real crisis, a crisis that required serious presidential leadership, he just wasn’t up to it. He froze. He failed to act. He panicked. And America has paid the worst price of any nation in the world.’
But Trump gives himself an ‘A+’ for his handling of the pandemic, and said his administration had done ‘a phenomenal job’.
Meanwhile the UK is currently being hit by a ‘second wave’ of Covid-19, after seeing a lull in cases and deaths over the summer months.
Britain was on course to reach normality, after seeing massive improvements during the lockdown, with the Prime Minister hoping for a normal Christmas.
However, progress was reversed when schools and universities returned, workers were encouraged to go back to their offices and the hospitality sector re-opened.
Britons were also told they could start holidaying once again, leading to localised outbreaks when groups returned from countries with high infection rates.
All these factors helped push the R rate – the number of people a Covid-19 patient infects – to worrying levels. The R rate is currently estimated to be between 1.2 and 1.4. It needs to stay below one to stop the coronavirus spreading.
An R number between 1.2 and 1.4 means that on average every 10 people infected will infect between 12 and 14 other people.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which tracks the size of the Covid-19 outbreak through thousands of random swab tests, says around 35,200 people are catching the virus each day in England. This figure has been growing every week since the week ending August 7.
But despite being a 26 per cent rise on its previous estimate and double that of a fortnight ago, top scientists insisted that the figure was ‘hopeful’ because the speed of growth has clearly dropped.
Cases doubled between October 2 and 9, then jumped by two thirds (62 per cent) the following week to 27,900 per day, according to the ONS data.
Researchers on King’s College London’s Covid Symptom Study also predict there are 36,000 new cases of symptomatic Covid-19 per day in the UK.
The R rate in the UK is currently between 1.2 and 1.4. It needs to stay below one to stop the coronavirus spreading. An R number between 1.2 and 1.4 means that on average every 10 people infected will infect between 12 and 14 other people
The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which tracks the size of the Covid-19 outbreak through thousands of random swab tests, say around 35,200 people are catching the virus each day in England.
BRITAIN’S COVID-19 OUTBREAK HAS SLOWED, DATA SHOWS
Analysis of official data by MailOnline shows weekly Covid-19 cases across the entire UK are currently rising by just 14 per cent, with an average 18,465 cases per day. For comparison, infections were almost doubling every seven-to-eight days in September
Britain’s coronavirus outbreak has slowed significantly since the start of the month, suggesting the latest suite of lockdown restrictions are successfully flattening the second curve of the outbreak.
Infections were almost doubling every seven-to-eight days in September, which sparked widespread fears the country had sleep-walked into a second wave following a lull in transmission over summer when the national lockdown was lifted.
On the back of the worrying figures, the Government’s chief scientific and medical officers warned the disease was growing exponentially and predicted a doomsday scenario of 50,000 cases a day by mid-October. Ministers tightened social freedoms nationally – introducing the rule of six and 10pm curfew – and ushered in the controversial three-tier lockdown system which plunged millions into even stricter curbs in Covid-19 hotspot areas.
There has been much debate about whether the new measures have been effective, but analysis of official data by MailOnline shows weekly Covid-19 cases across the entire UK are currently rising by just 14 per cent, with an average 18,465 cases per day. And in Merseyside – the only region which has been in a Tier Three lockdown long enough for the curbs to take effect – infections are already in retreat.
Despite the promising statistics, Health Secretary Matt Hancock today confirmed a Tier Four lockdown was on the cards if the current three-category system fails to push cases downwards. While he acknowledged that the virus had ‘slowed down a bit’, he said: ‘The problem is it’s still going up, and while it’s still going up we’ve got to act to get it under control.’ Mr Hancock said he would ‘rule nothing out’ on the prospect of a new fourth bracket of restrictions, which could see restaurants and non-essential shops forced to close.
Public Health England figures show the seven-day rolling average number of daily cases jumped from 3,676 in the week ending September 18 to 6,301 by September 25 (71 per cent). It rose by a similar rate the following week, climbing to 10,470 by September 29. The rolling seven-day average is considered the most accurate way to assess Covid-19 outbreaks because it takes into account day-to-day fluctuations in infections.
But, between October 9 and October 16 – the most recent snapshot – the rolling seven-day average number of cases only crept up by 14 per cent, from 16,196 to 18,465. For comparison, infections grew by 26.6 per cent the week prior. It suggests the rate at which infections are increasing is halving every week.
Meanwhile in the Liverpool city region – which became the first area to go into a Tier Three Lockdown on October 14 – four out of six boroughs have seen infections fall in the last week. And in the two where cases are still climbing, the rate at which they are increasing has began to decelerate.
As the winter looms, the Government is in ongoing discussions with local leaders of England’s authorities to decide which will be next to be slapped with tighter measures.
Currently more than 7million people in England are currently living under the toughest Covid-19 curbs, including Liverpool, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and swathes of South Yorkshire.
A further 19.6million are living in Tier Two, which bans people from seeing their friends and family indoors.
Hundreds of thousands more people are preparing for the imposition of toughest coronavirus restrictions, with parts of Nottinghamshire look set to enter the highest Tier 3 alert level as early as Wednesday.
The council in Warrington in Cheshire has already said it will be joining Tier 3 on from Tuesday.
Tensions have built as local chiefs in England have called for more clarity on how they can move out of the toughest coronavirus restrictions to avoid being stuck in them with no end date.
Asked about the criteria for an area to exit Tier 3, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘The first thing that’s most important is that the case rate has to be coming down, and in particular we look at the number of cases amongst the over-60s because that’s the number that is likely to translate into hospital admissions and sadly into deaths.’
He has also refused to rule out bringing in a tougher set of Tier 4 impositions following reports another level is being considered to tackle England’s rise in infections.
Amid the talks between councils and Government about escalating the tier levels in England, the Government has faced increasing criticism that the NHS Test and Trace service is failing.
The system last week hit a record low with just 59.6 per cent of the contacts of people who tested positive for the disease being successfully contacted and told to self-isolate.
And research by King’s College London, in September, has indicated that only one in ten people told by the NHS Test and Trace to self isolate do so.
Senior Conservative MP Sir Bernard Jenkin issued a call at the weekend for the head of the organisation — Tory peer Baroness Harding — to be sacked and replaced by a military commander.
He was backed by Labour which said that Lady Harding’s position had become ‘untenable’ after the latest weekly figures showed fewer than 60 per cent of the contacts of people testing positive for Covid-19 had been traced and told to self-isolate.
But Mr Hancock came to the Test and Trace tsar’s defence, telling BBC Breakfast this morning she was ‘of course’ the right person for the job.
Meanwhile, the Welsh Government has said a second ‘firebreak’ lockdown may be needed in January or February after the first one began on Friday.
Lee Waters, deputy minister for economy and transport, said the Welsh Government was trying to ‘flatten the curve’ of the second wave of Covid-19 but could not stop the virus from spreading entirely.
The new restrictions in Wales, which will end on November 9, mean non-essential retail including clothes shops, furniture stores and car dealerships must close.
In Scotland, a new five-level lockdown approach similar to that in England will be introduced across the country from November 2.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said details of what level will apply to different parts of Scotland will be announced ahead of a coronavirus debate in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.
Northern Ireland has now entered its second week of a four-week circuit-breaker, in which schools must shut on top of pubs, restaurants and shops.
Scientists have repeatedly called for a ‘circuit breaker’ national lockdown in England similar to its neighbours to try and stop the spiralling outbreak and ‘turn back the clock’ to allow the test and trace system to catch up.