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UK hospital coronavirus deaths pass 20,000

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More than 20,000 people have now died with coronavirus in UK hospitals, the Department of Health has announced.

The latest figures showed a total of 20,319 deaths in the UK, an increase by 813 on the previous day.

At the government’s daily briefing, the home secretary described the figure as a “tragic and terrible milestone”.

Last month, the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said keeping deaths below 20,000 would be a “good outcome”.

It is 51 days since the first virus-related death was announced in the UK.

At the Downing Street briefing, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “As the deaths caused by this terrible virus pass another tragic and terrible milestone, the entire nation is grieving.”

She warned that “we are not out of the woods yet”, and said people must continue to follow social distancing measures to curb the spread of the virus.

The government’s figures do not account for deaths that have happened in care homes, at home, in hospices or elsewhere in the community.

These are measured separately by the Office for National Statistics, based on death certificates, and a weekly figure is announced each Tuesday.

Last week that figure indicated that there were at least 1,662 deaths, up to 10 April, that were above the hospital-based number.

The fact the UK has now passed the grim milestone outlined by Sir Patrick Vallance in less than two months is both a tragedy for the families affected and a worry to the rest of the country.

There are strong signs – at least in hospitals – that we have passed the peak of deaths.

The fact that it may have happened without the health service being overwhelmed in the way Italy’s was is at least some good news.

However, the deaths in care homes, which the daily figures from the government do not include, are rising rapidly and could prove very difficult to get under control.

In fact, if those were included they would have passed the 20,000 mark some time ago.

Source: BBC

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