Coronavirus live news: UK registers 964 Covid-related deaths; US misses vaccination target by millions

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Hi everyone, this is Jessica Murray, I’ll be taking over the blog for the next few hours – the last coronavirus blog of 2020 wrapping up what has been a truly unprecedented year for the world as we’ve tackled the global pandemic.

I’ve just been looking back at the first coronavirus live blog I contributed to at the end of January, which includes headlines such as “First confirmed case in the Middle East” and “130 people tested for coronavirus in the UK” – what feels like a lifetime ago. Since then we’ve had nearly 83m cases globally, over 1.8m deaths and countless lockdowns and travel restrictions which have completely transformed the world we live in.

This timeline is a great summary of just how much things have changed since doctors in Wuhan met on 31 December 2019 to discuss two dozen patients with “pneumonia of unknown cause”.

As always, if you’d like to get in touch, here are my details:

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @journojess_

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UK surpasses 73,000 deaths

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UK registers 964 Covid-related deaths

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This year is set to be one of the deadliest on record, with more than 610,000 deaths expected in England and Wales.

It will be a number of months until the final figures are available, however existing data from the Office for National Statistics indicates approximately 80,000 more people died in 2020 than in 2019.

More than 592,000 fatalities had been recorded as of December 18, but a further 4,000 Covid-19 deaths have occurred since and two weeks of data has yet to be added to the total.

The crude mortality rate is likely to rise above 10 deaths per 1,000 people in 2020 compared with 8.9 in the previous year.

The death toll is on track to be similar to that of the 1918 flu pandemic, when 611,861 people died, the highest number of annual deaths in England and Wales on record.

However the crude mortality rate was closer to 16 deaths per 1,000 people in 1918, when approximately 38.4 million people lived in England and Wales, compared with 59.4 million today.

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France detects first case of South African variant of Covid-19

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