Coronavirus deaths rising faster in UK than Italy

The death toll in Italy from Covid-19 has now exceeded total deaths in China - the source of the outbreak. Could the UK be on the same path?

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Coronavirus UK deaths rising faster than Italy as Europe death toll exceeds China

As hospitals across Italy continue to battle to save their influx of coronavirus patients, the number of deaths in the country has now surpassed that in China.

In less than a month the number who have died of Covid-19 in Italy has passed 6,000, as those who were infected in the early stages of the outbreak begin to succumb to the disease.

Meanwhile the number of deaths in the UK continue to rise. It has now been two weeks since the first confirmed death from coronavirus in the UK - and since then the number who have died has been rising at a faster rate than in Italy.

It highlights the urgency needed to arrest the spread of the disease before the NHS becomes overwhelmed and is unable to cope.

Deaths rising fastest in UK and Spain

The average daily rate of increase (in percentage terms) in the UK is now rising faster than Italy, according to the latest figures.

10 days after Italy recorded its first death, the number had risen to 197. When the UK reached the same point in the outbrek - on Sunday, March 22, the death toll had risen to 281.

While Italy recorded the highest death toll in a single day since the outbreak began on Saturday, with 793 deaths, the rate of increase has been slowing.

Since the country began seeing coronavirus deaths in double figures, it has continued to rise by a daily average of 35%.

Over the last week that has fallen to less than 20%, with the jump to 5,476 on Friday an 18% daily increase.

In contrast, the UK has seen an average daily rise of 41% in the number of deaths - lower than the trajectory of Spain, where the number of deaths had risen by a daily average of 49% at the same point in the outbreak.

Despite the national lockdown, the death rate in Italy is not slowing at the same rate as China. 

When China was at the same stage as Italy - 27 days after they recorded their 10th death - the daily increase in the number of deaths had fallen to less than 10%. Italy is currently seeing increases of around 13% a day

With the exponential rise continuing, Italy has now seen more deaths as across the whole of China - 5,476 in Italy compared to 3,270 in China.

That is despite detecting many fewer cases. Italy has confirmed less than 60,000 cases. China has confirmed more than 80,000.

It has left the death rates in each country starkly different. Currently 9.25% of those confirmed as infected with Covid-19 have died in Italy, compared to 4% in China.

Flattening the curve

Few countries are over the worst of the coronavirus outbreak, as governments across Europe brace for rapidly increasing numbers of cases and deaths.

But on Wednesday China - the source of the outbreak - did not record any new cases for the first time since the disease was identified.

And as more patients recover, the number of active cases in China has fallen by 50% in the last week.

Active cases in South Korea peaked around a week ago at almost 7,500 amid an intense testing regime, with around 250,000 people tested.

In the last seven days the number of active cases has fallen by more than eight per cent.

Across Europe, however, the trajectory of cases is rising. Those countries which have had serious outbreaks - at least 1,000 confirmed cases for at least two weeks - are seeing the spread of the disease continue and have not yet had success in 'flattening the curve'.

Efforts made in Italy to limit the virus with a national quarantine do appear to working, however.

In the last week active cases in Italy have risen by 171 per cent.

That compares to almost 300 per cent in France, 500 per cent in Spain, 550 per cent in Germany and 480 per cent in the UK.

Thousands of pubs, cafes, bars and restaurants have closed today after the Government told them to shut their doors indefinitely in a bid to limit the spread of the disease.