(Composite: Mark Hall / JPIMedia)(Composite: Mark Hall / JPIMedia)
(Composite: Mark Hall / JPIMedia)

Covid deaths UK: the 15 areas that recorded the most coronavirus deaths in 2021

New findings suggest that the Omicron variant has a lower risk of hospitalisation than the Delta Covid strain

Covid-19 infections hit a record high in the UK this week, with daily cases topping 100,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

The rapidly rising case numbers come following the arrival of the Omicron variant, which is thought to be much more transmissible than previous strains.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed on Wednesday (22 December) that an additional 13,581 Omicron cases had been reported in the UK, bringing the total so far to more than 74,000.

Hospital admissions in England for people with confirmed or suspected Omicron rose to 195, according to the UKHSA, while the number of deaths linked to Omicron has risen to 18.

But while case numbers are still going up, new research has found that Omicron generally causes much milder disease, meaning those who catch it may be less likely to need hospital treatment.

A study by Imperial College London found that people infected with Omicron are 15 to 20% less likely to need hospital treatment compared with Delta, while those who have had Covid-19 before are 50 to 60% less likely to be hospitalised.

However, researchers warned that the severity of Omicron may be offset by the “reduced efficacy” of vaccines to stop it being transmitted.

The lower risk of hospitalisation from Omicron is a positive sign after a difficult year, which has seen many lives tragically lost to Covid-19.

These are the parts of the UK that have been worst affected and recorded the highest number of coronavirus deaths so far in 2021, based on the latest data from 1 January to 19 December. It should be noted that larger council areas are likely to have had more deaths as the population size is bigger. Images are for illustrative purposes only.

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