UK confirms 23,287 more positive coronavirus tests and 355 deaths

UK’s official number of daily cases drops AGAIN with 23,287 new infections – down 5% on last week – as health chiefs confirm 355 more deaths

  • Department of Health data shows diagnosed cases are down five per cent on last week and fell from yesterday
  • Deaths are rising, however, in wake of a surge in infections and hospital admissions throughout October 
  • Three-week lag between infection and death means fatalities will keep going up even as the outbreak shrinks

The UK has today confirmed 23,287 more positive coronavirus tests and 355 deaths, as around 13,000 people are now in hospital with the disease.

New cases are down five per cent from the 24,405 declared last Friday and lower than the 24,141 diagnosed yesterday.

Fatalities are the lowest since Monday but have surged 29.6 per cent since last Friday, when there were 274.

Department of Health data confirmed there were 12,999 people in hospital with Covid-19 on Wednesday, the most recent data, with 1,525 new admissions on Monday.

England started its second lockdown yesterday amid concerns rapid spread of the virus in September and October is leading to surging hospital admissions across the North of England and sparking fears the NHS could be overwhelmed again.

But the move has proven controversial as streams of data from various sources – some official and some not – seem to show that the local lockdown policy was working.

The Office for National Statistics today recorded the first decline in five weeks in its estimated of daily new infections in England, predicting that 45,700 people caught the virus each day last week, down from 51,900 the week before. 

A weekly Public Health England report showed that rates of infection declined in more than half of local authorities during half term and experts say there is proof the three tier system was working and the peak of the second wave may even have passed already.

Today’s increase in cases comes as a range of data points to a turning point in the UK’s outbreak. 

England’s second lockdown began yesterday but estimates of infections happening across the country suggest that the outbreak had already started to come under control, with fewer people expected to be catching the illness than in previous weeks.

Promising figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – which runs a massive government surveillance scheme that randomly swabs tens of thousands of people to track the size of the outbreak – suggest that 45,700 people caught Covid-19 each day last week in England.

The number dropped 12 per cent in a week from 51,900 for the previous week and accounts for the period up to October 31 – the same day Boris Johnson announced the country was heading into another economically-crippling lockdown. 

MailOnline’s analysis of Public Health England (PHE) statistics showed more than half of local authorities scattered across England saw their infection rates fall at the end of October. And rates even fell in areas that weren’t in Tier Two or Three lockdowns, suggesting national rules such as the 10pm curfew and rule of six were helping.

Other academics behind a symptom-tracking app are adamant the country’s second wave has already peaked and is over. Even SAGE – Number 10’s advisory panel which spooked ministers into adopting tougher action based on ‘inaccurate’ models – today admitted there is evidence outbreaks are slowing in ‘some parts’ of England.

And the group of top scientists revealed the UK’s R rate has remained at between 1.1 and 1.3 for the second week in a row. It has fallen in five out of seven regions in England, including the North West, North East and the Midlands, where 10million people were already living under the toughest Tier Three curbs.

But amid growing calls on Number 10 to re-evaluate whether there is truly any need for the entire nation to be hit by the toughest rules since the spring, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: ‘The lockdown is for four weeks to the 2nd December. As we have said the trend of hospital admissions are going up.’

It can take coronavirus patients several weeks to fall severely ill, meaning admissions and deaths will continue to spike because cases are still high. But eminent doctors and scientists argue wards are no busier than usual for this time of year and that there is still plenty of space across the nation to treat the infected. 

Graphs used by SAGE to make the case for the November lockdown have been torn apart by experts, who showed that one flawed projection that predicted up to 4,000 deaths a day, in particular, was several weeks out of date and unnecessarily frightened the public.

MPs have told MailOnline the use of the data has echoes of the ‘dodgy dossier’ used to take the country to war with Iraq in 2003 and described it as ‘propaganda’ in favour of lockdown. Critics of the blanket intervention even called for experts behind the ‘flawed modelling’ to be held ‘accountable for the economic disaster that will follow’.      

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