Covid killed more Brits than any infectious bug since World War One, data says

Covid has killed more Brits in its first year than any other infectious disease since World War One, the latest statistics show.

The UK death toll in the 12 months after the start of the first lockdown reached 125,516, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Monday.

It estimated the true figure was at least 140,000 including deaths where Covid was mentioned as the underlying cause or a contributory cause on their death certificates, the Mirror reports.

This was bigger than any other infectious or parasitic disease since the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic.

In England and Wales, around 73,500 people died with Covid registered as the underlying cause of death during 2020, the ONS said.

In the year of the pandemic, almost 4,400 further deaths from infectious and parasitic diseases were registered, the government agency added.

Official estimates suggest the Spanish Flu killed at least 228,000 people in the UK between 1918 and 1919.

That made 1918 the first year on British record in which the number of deaths exceeded births.

There were just over 89,900 deaths from various infectious and parasitic diseases registered in England and Wales in that year.

By comparison, there were nearly 8,200 deaths from infectious and parasitic diseases in England and Wales in 2007. This coincided with a peak in deaths in England involving Clostridium difficile.

Also known as C. difficile, the bacteria affects the bowel causing diarrhoea and can be deadly.

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But despite most other sectors taking a thrashing, house prices bucked the trend by increasing while the economy shrank in 2020.

Real estate sales figures shot up during the pandemic, a stark departure from the 2008/9 financial crisis recession which was triggered by banking crises fuelled by risky real estate financing.

The average UK house price reached a record high of £252,000 in December 2020 — an increase of 8.5% over the year, the ONS said.

The ONS figures also showed the winter pressures on the NHS were far worse than recent years.

Its analysis of the year since lockdown began also looked at crime, jobs and real estate figures.

Despite crime falling overall in lockdown across England and Wales, there was a stark increase in stalking and harassment which rose even further as restrictions lifted in summer..

The number of offences recorded rose by 31% year-on-year between July and September 2020, the ONS said.

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Statisticians also found in many industries the hit to jobs was worse than the financial crash downturn – with the arts, accommodation and hospitality and retail sectors worst-hit.

The UK also saw national debt soar to levels not seen since the 1960s as public spending was channeled to coronavirus support schemes such as furloughing, the ONS said.

And on average UK workers worked seven fewer hours per person a week as jobs were slashed and roles furloughed during 2020's rolling shutdowns.

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