£84m of funding to accelerate UK vaccine trials revealed as Britain reports lowest daily deaths since March

Earlier today NHS England has announced 90 new coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 24,617.

Beyond the personal tragedy each of these fatalities represent, what do these numbers tell us about the overall coronavirus situation in England? 

Prof Carl Heneghan, director of Oxford’s Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, has analysed the figures – here are some useful takeaways.

First, reported deaths in hospitals in England on the three previous Sundays suggest we are seeing a relatively significant drop in deaths:

  • Sunday  10th May: 178 deaths
  • 3rd May: 327 deaths
  • 26th of April:  336 deaths

And in the last seven days, there have been 1,467 fatalities – which is a drop of 27 per cent compared to the week ending 10 May, and a 69 per cent decrease compared to the week ending the 19th April. 

Dr Stephen Griffin, Associate Professor in the School of Medicine, University of Leeds, added that today’s figures do not demonstrate that easing the lockdown has been effective:

“The lower death toll today, albeit at a weekend where reporting can take a little longer, is of course a welcome sign that things may be improving. However, it is important to remember that most people that sadly succumb to severe COVID19 often do so after two or three weeks, or even longer.

“Thus, this figure likely reflects the last weeks of full lockdown rather than a sign that the new relaxed measures are a success. It will be important to closely monitor case and fatality rates over the coming weeks, using as wide and as intensive a screening effort as humanly possible.”

Our data team have put together this chart showing the UK’s epidemiological curve:

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