Newsnight ended on a sobering note last night as UK Covid deaths continue to grow at an exponential rate.
Yesterday a further 1,162 people lost their lives to the virus, marking the second day in a row that numbers have surpassed 1,000.
With the number of confirmed cases remaining at over 50,000 on most days there’s no sign of that slowing down, despite the rollout of a vaccination.
It brings the total number of deaths in the UK to 78,508 – just shy of the capacity of the London Olympic stadium, which held 80,000 in the summer of 2012 when all eyes were trained on the capital for the historic sporting event.
Meanwhile, hospital admissions of people with Covid-19 reached another record high in England, NHS England figures also showed, with 3,697 admissions reported for January 5.
This passed the previous record of 3,587 on January 4.
During the first wave of the virus, admissions peaked at 3,099 on April 1 2020.
The number comprises all patients admitted in the previous 24 hours who were known to have Covid-19, plus any patients diagnosed in hospital with Covid-19 in the previous 24 hours.
Expected to increase
The new data comes after health minister Lord Bethell suggested the numbers are expected to get worse.
He told peers the reported deaths per day is around 1,000 and “set to increase” given the high rates of infections and hospital admissions.
Lord Bethell said chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has observed that the rise in infections will lead to further deaths.
He added: “He (Prof Whitty) has also pointed out the very sad but I’m afraid inevitable possibility that the large amount of infection that has grown up over the last few weeks will in time lead to further deaths.
“This is an uncomfortable piece of speculation but as sure as night follows day, I’m afraid infections and hospitalisations will lead to further deaths.
“We’re running at about nearly 1,000 a day at the moment, and that number is set to increase.”
More Covid-19 patients than peak of first wave
More than half of all major hospital trusts in England currently have more Covid-19 patients than at the peak of the first wave of the virus.
Some 84 out of 139 acute NHS trusts were recording a higher number of Covid-19 patients at 8am on January 5 2021 than at any point between March and May 2020.
This includes 13 of the 14 acute trusts in eastern England and 15 out of 18 acute trusts in south-east England.
The figures also show that 51 of the 139 acute trusts had a record number of Covid-19 patients on January 5.
The Government also said that, as of 9am on Thursday, there had been a further 52,618 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.
It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 2,889,419.