Less than two weeks ago, Britons were still going to pubs and restaurants, even as they stockpiled essential items. Now, this seems a distant memory as streets are deserted and all non-essential businesses remain closed. But despite a nationwide lockdown introduced on March 24, coronavirus-related deaths have sharply risen.
The UK's death toll from the virus rose by 20 percent to 4,313 by Friday afternoon, with 708 new fatalities recorded, the health ministry said. While the increase in the number of deaths each day appears to be slowing in Italy, the number in the UK is still doubling every two to three days.
Most virus-related deaths have been among people aged 65 years and above, with almost half - 45 percent - of these occurring in the over-85 age group, according to an analysis of England and Wales cases by the Office of National Statistics. But some of those who succumbed to COVID-19 were young with no underlying health issues.
With 4,313 deaths from 41,903 registered cases as of April 3, the crude case fatality rate is 9 percent in the UK. The rate in Italy is 12 percent, and in Germany 1 percent. Experts say the reality is not reflected in these numbers.
"The problem is we don't know the total number of cases. If that figure is considerably underestimated, then the case fatality will appear higher, which is likely to be happening," said Rosalind Smyth, director of University College London's Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health.
Meanwhile, said Keith Neil, emeritus professor of the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at the University of Nottingham, "there are certainly people who have died in the UK who have not been included in these death figures". The UK's recent coronavirus-related death toll reflects what happened "approximately two to three, possibly four, weeks ago", says Neil.
"There's a lag in the deaths compared to the cases. Very few people are dying in the first week of becoming infected," he adds.
Italy recorded its lowest death rate in more than a week on April 1, 25 days after announcing its nationwide lockdown, indicating that social restrictions are yielding results.
From 'herd immunity' to lockdown
A few weeks ago, as countries around the world began to shut down, the UK diverged in its approach.
Acknowledging on March 12 that the most dangerous period was "some weeks away", Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a "delay" phase to increase the ability of the emergency services and society more widely to cope.
At the time, the UK had the 10th-highest number of coronavirus infections in Europe and was in line with the growth curves already observed in other countries, including Italy, Spain, France and Germany.
The government's initial strategy was an attempt to build "herd immunity" and suppress the virus through gradual restrictions. Schools remained open and anyone with symptoms was told to stay at home for seven days.
After new simulations of the outbreak from Imperial College London showed how that scenario could lead to high rates of hospitalisation and need for critical care, straining the health service capacity, the UK changed course.
(Courtesy: Al Jazeera)
|Bhopal - The City of Lakes|
|HOTELS & RESTAURANTS|
|ART & CULTURE|
|MAJOR TOURIST ATTRACTIONS|
|TECHNICAL UNIVERSITIES & INSTITUTIONS|
|MEDICAL COLLEGES & HOSPITALS|
|UNIVERSITIES & ACADEMIES|
|Tourist Attractions in M.P.|
|NATIONAL PARKS AND WILDLIFE SANCTUARIES|
|HISTORICAL & ARCHAEOLOGICAL IMPORTANT PLACES|
|HERITAGES & MONUMENTS|