The United Kingdom recorded more new COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday than the entire EU combined, new data indicates.
The figures, published and compiled by Our World in Data, show the UK announced 359 new fatalities on June 3.nullabout:blank
The EU27, including hard-hit countries like France, Italy and Spain, disclosed 311 new deaths around the same time.
There are, however, several caveats to this.
Firstly, countries record COVID-19 deaths differently: for example, a pneumonia death in one country might be counted as coronavirus-related in one, but not the other.
Secondly, while the fatality might be recorded as a new one, it might have happened a weeks ago and is only just being reported now.
Thirdly, the outbreak peaked in the UK later than it did in other European countries, which could explain the reason for the higher figures.
Nevertheless, it comes after Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK government’s chief scientific adviser, said during the daily briefing from Downing Street on Wednesday that the COVID-19 infection rate in the country “is not coming down as fast as we would like it to come down”.
He said that the R rate was still close to 1 and noted that although the daily tally of new cases is going down — it stood at 1,871 on Wednesday — the number could, in fact, be as high as 8,000.
“This gives relatively little room for manoeuvre. That means we have to tread very carefully,” he added.
The UK is the hardest-hit country in Europe with the government’s death toll now at 39,728. Globally, it is only second to the US in terms of deaths.
Of the EU27’s 311 deaths, France had the second-highest one-day-tally in Europe with 81 deaths, followed by Sweden (74) and Italy (71).
Thirteen member states — mostly eastern nations and Baltic countries — recorded no new fatalities including Spain where no new deaths have been observed for three days in a row.
A tally kept by the Johns Hopkins University put the Spanish death toll at 27,128 on Thursday (June 4), the fourth-highest on the Old Continent behind the UK, Italy and France.
A further five member states — Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, and Ireland — reported a single fatality.
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, 167,940 deaths have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK as of June 4 — nearly half of the global death toll estimated at 386,581 by the Johns Hopkins University.
With more than 1.4 million confirmed cases, the Old Continent also accounts for nearly of fifth of all infections worldwide.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), flagged on Wednesday evening during a press conferencethat more than 100,000 new cases had been reported to the UN agency for each of the previous five days.
The Americas, in particular central and south Americas, “are experiencing accelerating epidemics” he said, with the number of cases reported each day from the region now higher than the rest of the world put together.
“We also see an increasing number of cases in the Eastern Mediterranean, south-east Asia and Africa, although the numbers are much smaller,” he noted.
“Yesterday saw the fewest number of new cases in Europe since the 22nd of March,” he also said.