THE true UK coronavirus death toll has reached more than 47,000 – with 11,650 deaths in care homes.
The Office for National Statistics figures show that 42,173 died from the virus in England and Wales up to May 15.
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Combined with the latest ONS stats for Scotland and Northern Ireland, it means a total of 46,383 have died across the UK.
A further 964 hospital patients in England who had tested positive for Covid-19 died between May 16 and May 24 meaning that the overall UK death toll is just above 47,300.
The figure is 10,000 more than the official Department of Health stats – which yesterday put the UK death toll at 36,914.
In heartening news, the number of people who died of coronavirus in England and Wales dropped to its lowest number in six weeks – although 3,810 still died.
Other key findings in today's ONS stats reveal
- 42,173 deaths involving the deadly bug occurred in England and Wales up to May 15
- For the first time, deaths in care homes accounted for more than half of the total number of deaths with Covid-19
- The North West had the highest number of deaths from the bug for the second week in a row
- There were 4,385 more deaths than the five-year average
- The number of deaths involving coronavirus decreased for the third week running
Stats also show that 135,575 deaths were registered in England and Wales between March 21 and May 8 2020. This includes both coronavirus and non-coronavirus related deaths.
The figure is almost 54,000 more deaths than the average for this period in the previous five years.
In care homes, the number of fatalities was 2,350 higher than the five year average.
Stephen Powis, National Medical Director of NHS England, has previously warned that these excess deaths will be the “key measure” in assessing the impact of the bug.
According to the National Records of Scotland, a total of 3,546 deaths had occurred involving Covid-19 by May 17.
Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, the statistics agency recorded 664 deaths up to May 15.
Britain has been in lockdown for over two months with most shops closed and people living in isolation since March 23.
But the extreme measures have slowly started to ease with barbecues and garden parties for ten person 'bubbles' expected to be allowed from the end of June.
Boris Johnson hailed the move as a step on the road to "rebuilding our country" and urged Brits to "spend" to help the economy to "bounce back".
The new relaxation measures will pave the way for millions of people to head back to work.
It comes as
- Brits will be able to meet their friends and families again from the end of June
- Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to get back to business
- Only small numbers of children will head back to class when England reopens its schools
- Pubs have urged ministers to cut social distancing rules from two metres to one so they can open up
It means clothes shops, department stores and independent retailers can finally break free of the lockdown.
Mr Johnson has said he will not hesitate to slam on the brakes if it looks like Britain risks a second wave of the deadly bug.
The PM said at the Downing Street press conference yesterday: "We are making good progress, but that progress is conditional, provisional.
"We must keep reducing the incidence of this disease."
Meanwhile, men with longer ring fingers are at a lower risk of dying from coronavirus, research has found.
Males exposed to more testosterone in the womb tend to grow longer ring fingers.
And the hormone may produce more of a compound called ACE2, which helps the body to fight the virus.
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