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Britain records deadliest day of pandemic for 2nd day in a row

Boris Johnson warns there 'will be more' Covid deaths to come after Britain records its deadliest day of the pandemic for second day in a row with 1,820 more victims - but the outbreak continues to shrink with 38,905 new infections

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Boris Johnson today warned ‘there will be more’ Covid deaths to come after Britain recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic for the second day in a row with 1,820 more victims.

The Prime Minister called the figure ‘appalling’ as the UK’s overall toll crept closer to the grim 100,00 milestone.

Department of Health data shows nearly 20,000 fatalities have been recorded in 2021 already, with today’s figure being a 16 per cent rise on the 1,243 recorded last Wednesday. Health bosses declared 1,610 deaths yesterday.

Despite the grim figures, statistics also showed the second wave is continuing to fade as a result of lockdown. Another 38,905 coronavirus cases were recorded today, down 18 per cent on last Wednesday’s 47,525.

But Mr Johnson warned of ‘tough weeks to come’ in the pandemic. He said: ‘These figures are appalling, and of course we think of the suffering that each one of those deaths represents to their families and to their friends.

‘I’ve got to tell you … there will be more to come because what we’re seeing is the result of the wave of the new variant that we saw just before Christmas on December 18, or thereabouts.’

Fatalities lag a few weeks behind infections due to the time it takes between catching and falling seriously ill with Covid, which means the effects of the January shutdown might not be felt in the death figures until next week.

The PM told the Downing Street briefing: ‘We must hope that by getting the numbers – the daily infections – down in the way that perhaps has been happening since the lockdown, that will feed through into a reduction in deaths as well.

‘But I must stress we have tough weeks to come now as we roll out the vaccine. The light will only really begin to dawn as we get those vaccinations out.’

It comes amid renewed hopes for Britain’s great vaccine rollout as 350,000 doses were dished out yesterday. One Government insider told MailOnline they hoped it meant the programme was ‘back on track’.

Mr Johnson said: ‘We’re going absolutely as fast as we can and it is literally a race against time, a race to protect the elderly and the vulnerable in the context of what is still a very, very tough pandemic.’

So what IS holding up Britain’s great Covid vaccine rollout?

Fears Britain may be lagging behind on the great vaccination rollout was raised yesterday, after the daily rate fell for a third consecutive day.

But there is mounting confusion about the source of the problems.

Here, MailOnline delves into some of the factors that could be hampering the roll-out.

SUPPLY?

Officials say there are ‘a lot of moving parts’ contributing to the slowdown, with ‘intermittent’ deliveries of supplies’ playing a role.

Pfizer’s supplies have been dented by an upgrade to its Belgian factor, which will continue into next month.

Government sources have dismissed claims there are 21million doses of vaccines already in the country, although they refused to give details of stocks saying it would be a security risk.

DISTRIBUTION?

Sadiq Khan last week accused No10 of not delivering a fair share of the Covid vaccines to London. Ministers and the NHS denied the claims.

London’s mayor blamed a simplistic formula for the lack of supply, saying the algorithm did not take into account the size of GP practices.

The allocation is believed to have been based on take-up of last season’s flu vaccine, which was relatively low.

CARE HOME FOCUS?

No10 sources have also claimed the rollout is being slowed down through difficulties contacting the remaining over-80s.

They said that top priority groups get harder to reach when more have been vaccinated already.

In order to meet the lockdown-easing target, the Government must average more than 350,000 doses a day from now until February 15, with the previously bullish tone of officials becoming increasingly anxious.

Mr Johnson insisted today the UK will hit his target of inoculating 14 million vulnerable people by mid-February. But the PM – who was grilled by MPs about the rollout earlier – warned ‘constraints on supply’ were making the situation harder.

The promising data came amid mounting confusion about the source of the three-day blip in performance, with officials saying there were a ‘lot of moving parts’ that contributed to the slowdown.

Pfizer’s supplies have been dented by a factory upgrade which will continue into next month. Government sources have flatly dismissed claims there are 21million doses of vaccines already in the country, although they refused to give details of stocks saying it would be a security risk.

Sources say other factors include the ‘intermittent’ deliveries of supplies and difficulties contacting the remaining over-80s and covering care homes. MPs have also voiced frustration at the way supplies have been divvied out. In London — which has dished out the fewest jabs — the allocation is believed to have been based on take-up of last season’s flu vaccine, which was relatively low.

But hopes that Britain’s great Covid vaccine rollout is still on track were raised today as official data revealed the UK dished out 346,000 jabs yesterday following fears the NHS drive may have stalled.

Read more here…


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