A total of 1,325 deaths were recorded today for people who had a positive test for COVID-19 within the last 28 days. The highest previous figure was 1,224, recorded in April.
The UK has one of the highest per-capita death rates from the virus in the world.
Daily recorded deaths, however, are prone to fluctuations due to the recording process. A more stable figure is the seven-day average daily death toll, which currently stands at 809, compared with the peak of 942 in the spring.
The running weekly death rate is currently rising at a rate of 45 percent per week, according to the government data.
Deaths from the virus are generally thought to be about three to four weeks behind infections.
Hospitalisations overall in the UK for the CCP virus have been above the levels reached during the spring peak since the New Year. The latest figures show hospitalisations increasing by 35 percent per week.
The government and their scientific advisers say the increase in CCP virus cases in the UK has been pushed by the rise of a more transmissible variant that spread from London and the Southeast.
In London, 1 in 30 people currently have the virus, according to a government-endorsed swab-test survey.
‘Major Incident’ in London
“The situation in London is now critical with the spread of the virus out of control,” Khan said in a statement.
“The number of cases in London has increased rapidly with more than a third more patients being treated in our hospitals now compared to the peak of the pandemic last April,” he said.
Another more up-to-the-minute method of tracking virus levels by people recording symptoms on a phone app, however, suggests that in London levels are now falling.
“As London faces a healthcare emergency and lack of beds, our latest ZOE survey data shows the peak may have passed and numbers of new cases starting to drop,” said professor Tim Spector, who manages the survey.
A similar drop for London and the Southeast and East is also indicated in the latest test-swab survey, published today by the Office for National Statistics.
Deaths from all causes is 12.3 percent above the five-year average in England for the year according to the latest figures, which are for the week ending Dec. 25, offering something of a delayed snapshot.
Data shows that over 95 percent of people who died with the CCP virus in England were recorded as having an underlying health condition.
However, that data uses a very broad definition of “underlying health condition” required by the health care recording system, which potentially includes many minor ailments, and could thus encompass much of the population.
Alexander Zhang contributed to this report.