UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages

UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
In this May 5, 2020 file photo a member of medical staff cares for a patient with coronavirus in the intensive care unit at the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, England. More than 100,000 people have died in the United Kingdom after contracting the coronavirus. That’s according to government figures released Tuesday Jan. 26, 2021. Britain is the fifth country in the world to pass that mark, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, and by far the smallest. The U.S. has recorded more than 400,000 COVID-19 deaths, the world’s highest total, but its population of about 330 million is about five times Britain’s. (Neil Hall/Pool via AP, File)

More than 100,000 people have died in the United Kingdom after contracting the coronavirus, a year into Europe’s deadliest outbreak, figures from the government showed Tuesday.

Britain is the fifth country in the world to record 100,000 virus-related deaths, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, and by far the smallest. The U.S. has recorded more than 400,000 COVID-19 deaths, the world’s highest total, but its population of about 330 million is about five times Britain’s.

The health department said 100,162 people have died after testing positive, including 1,631 new deaths reported Tuesday.

“It’s hard to compute the sorrow contained in that grim statistic,” a somber Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at a televised news conference.

The U.K. toll is more than twice as many people as were killed by German bombs in Britain in the 1940-41 Blitz, and 30,000 more than the total number of British civilians killed during the six years of World War II.

The first confirmed British victim of the virus was Peter Attwood, an 84-year-old retiree who died on Jan. 30, 2020—though the cause was not recorded as COVID-19 until months later.

A year on, hundreds of thousands of Britons are grieving the loss of loved ones, and demanding an accounting for the terrible toll.

UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
In this Tuesday, March 3, 2020 file photo Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts during a press conference at Downing Street on the government’s coronavirus action plan in London. More than 100,000 people have died in the United Kingdom after contracting the coronavirus. That’s according to government figures released Tuesday Jan. 26, 2021. Britain is the fifth country in the world to pass that mark, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, and by far the smallest. The U.S. has recorded more than 400,000 COVID-19 deaths, the world’s highest total, but its population of about 330 million is about five times Britain’s. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

In part, Britain has suffered because of longstanding factors such as high levels of conditions including obesity and , a large gap between rich and poor and London’s status as a global crossroads.

But decisions during the pandemic also played a part. Johnson’s Conservative government is accused by many scientists of waiting too long to impose a lockdown in March as infections were rising exponentially. Leading epidemiologists say acting a week sooner might have cut the toll in half.

As in other European countries, cases fell in the summer, then took off again. A more transmissible variant identified in southeast England helped push infections to new highs, and brought a new lockdown, even as a nationwide vaccination campaign began.

Johnson—who spent a week in the hospital with the virus in April—has promised that a public inquiry will examine Britain’s handling of the pandemic, though he has not said when it will start.

  • UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
    In this Wednesday March 11, 2020 file photo, a general view from the Grand Stand as Envoi Allen ridden by Davy Russell wins the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle day two of the Cheltenham Horse Racing Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse, England. More than 100,000 people have died in the United Kingdom after contracting the coronavirus. That’s according to government figures released Tuesday Jan. 26, 2021. Britain is the fifth country in the world to pass that mark, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, and by far the smallest. The U.S. has recorded more than 400,000 COVID-19 deaths, the world’s highest total, but its population of about 330 million is about five times Britain’s. (Tim Goode/PA via AP, File)
  • UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
    In this March 17, 2020 file photo people on a busy tube train at rush hour despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling on people avoid all non-essential contacts and travel, in London. More than 100,000 people have died in the United Kingdom after contracting the coronavirus. That’s according to government figures released Tuesday Jan. 26, 2021. (Ian Hinchliffe/PA via AP, File)
  • UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
    In this Tuesday, March 31, 2020 file photo a patient is helped from an ambulance as they arrive at St Thomas’ Hospital, one of may hospitals that are in the front line of the coronavirus outbreak, in London. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
  • UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
    In this Sunday, April 5, 2020 file photo a woman is told to go home by a police officer on a motorbike to stop the spread of coronavirus and keep the park open for people observing the British government’s guidance of social distancing, only using parks for dog walking, one form of exercise a day, like a run, walk, or cycle alone or with members of the same household, on Primrose Hill in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
  • UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
    In this March 17, 2020 file photo people stand drinking outside the Coach & Horses pub on Saint Patrick’s Day in the Covent Garden district of central London, which is a popular tourist area. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
  • UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
    In this May 5, 2020 file photo members of the medical staff care for a patient with coronavirus as they are treated in the intensive care unit at the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, England. More than 100,000 people have died in the United Kingdom after contracting the coronavirus. That’s according to government figures released Tuesday Jan. 26, 2021. Britain is the fifth country in the world to pass that mark, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, and by far the smallest. The U.S. has recorded more than 400,000 COVID-19 deaths, the world’s highest total, but its population of about 330 million is about five times Britain’s. (Neil Hall/Pool via AP, File)
  • UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
    In this Wednesday, April 8, 2020 file photo a video screen displays a message urging people to stay home in a nearly deserted Piccadilly Circus in London. More than 100,000 people have died in the United Kingdom after contracting the coronavirus. That’s according to government figures released Tuesday Jan. 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
  • UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
    In this May 5, 2020 file photo a patient with coronavirus is treated in the intensive care unit at the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, England. (Neil Hall/Pool via AP, File)
  • UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
    In this Aug. 26, 2020 file photo a nurse holds a painting of Prime Minister Boris Johnson clapping with blood on his hands as part of a demonstration of NHS workers at hospitals across London to demand a 15 per cent pay rise by the government in London.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)
  • UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
    In this Wednesday, June 24, 2020 file photo on Britain’s hottest day of the year so far with temperatures reaching 32.6 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) at Heathrow airport, people relax on Brighton Beach in Brighton, England. More than 100,000 people have died in the United Kingdom after contracting the coronavirus. That’s according to government figures released Tuesday Jan. 26, 2021. Britain is the fifth country in the world to pass that mark, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, and by far the smallest. The U.S. has recorded more than 400,000 COVID-19 deaths, the world’s highest total, but its population of about 330 million is about five times Britain’s. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
  • UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
    In this Sept. 22, 2020 file photo a waiter serves in a restaurant in Soho in London. More than 100,000 people have died in the United Kingdom after contracting the coronavirus. That’s according to government figures released Tuesday Jan. 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)
  • UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
    In this Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020 file photo British Health Secretary Matt Hancock walks through Downing Street on his way into number 10, in London. More than 100,000 people have died in the United Kingdom after contracting the coronavirus. That’s according to government figures released Tuesday Jan. 26, 2021. Britain is the fifth country in the world to pass that mark, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, and by far the smallest. The U.S. has recorded more than 400,000 COVID-19 deaths, the world’s highest total, but its population of about 330 million is about five times Britain’s. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
  • UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
    In this Sept. 26, 2020 file photo riot police face protesters who took part in a ‘We Do Not Consent’ rally at Trafalgar Square, organised by Stop New Normal, to protest against coronavirus restrictions, in London. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)
  • UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
    In this May 5, 2020 file photo members of the clinical staff wearing Personal Protective Equipment PPE care for a patient with coronavirus in the intensive care unit at the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, England. More than 100,000 people have died in the United Kingdom after contracting the coronavirus. That’s according to government figures released Tuesday Jan. 26, 2021. Britain is the fifth country in the world to pass that mark, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, and by far the smallest. (Neil Hall/Pool via AP, File)
  • UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
    In this Sept. 30, 2020 file photo Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures, during a coronavirus briefing in Downing Street, London. More than 100,000 people have died in the United Kingdom after contracting the coronavirus. That’s according to government figures released Tuesday Jan. 26, 2021. Britain is the fifth country in the world to pass that mark, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, and by far the smallest. (Jack Hill/Pool Photo via AP, File)
  • UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
    In this Dec. 2, 2020 file photo face masks to curb the spread of coronavirus are displayed for sale on a stall as non-essential shops are allowed to reopen after England’s second lockdown ended at midnight, on Oxford Street, in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
  • UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
    In this Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 file photo a nurse administers the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London as U.K. health authorities rolled out the first doses of a widely tested and independently reviewed COVID-19 vaccine. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)
  • UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
    In this Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021 file photo a patient is pushed on a trolley outside the Royal London Hospital in east London during England’s third national lockdown since the coronavirus outbreak began. More than 100,000 people have died in the United Kingdom after contracting the coronavirus, less than a year into Europe’s deadliest outbreak, figures from the government showed Tuesday. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
  • UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
    In this Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020 file photo crowds of shoppers walk under the Christmas lights in Regent Street, in London. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali, File)
  • UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
    In this Jan. 17, 2021 file photo travelers arrive at Heathrow Airport in London. Britain is the fifth country in the world to record 100,000 virus-related deaths, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, and by far the smallest. The U.S. has recorded more than 400,000 COVID-19 deaths, the world’s highest total, but its population of about 330 million is about five times Britain’s. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)
  • UK passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths as outbreak still rages
    In this Jan. 19, 2021 file photo a man wearing a face mask walks past a globe in front of the London School of Economics in London. Britain is the fifth country in the world to record 100,000 virus-related deaths, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, and by far the smallest. The U.S. has recorded more than 400,000 COVID-19 deaths, the world’s highest total, but its population of about 330 million is about five times Britain’s. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

“Of course we will learn lessons in due course and of course there will be a time to reflect and to prepare for the next pandemic,” Johnson said last week.

The official count records people who died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus.

The full toll, as elsewhere, is likely even higher, due in part to missed cases early on in the pandemic. U.K. statistics agencies say that the number of deaths registered that mention COVID-19 on the death certificate is more than 108,000.


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