Hundreds of Covid deaths in Ards and North Down – as UK death toll tops 200,000

Hundreds of people have died from coronavirus in Ards and North Down, new figures show, as the total death toll for the UK passes 200,000.

A woman painting red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall opposite the Houses of Parliament at Embankment, central London, in memory of the more than 145,000 people who have died in the UK from coronavirus. Picture date: Monday March 29, 2021.
A woman painting red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall opposite the Houses of Parliament at Embankment, central London, in memory of the more than 145,000 people who have died in the UK from coronavirus. Picture date: Monday March 29, 2021.

Hundreds of people have died from coronavirus in Ards and North Down, new figures show, as the total death toll for the UK passes 200,000.

Although the number of deaths remains well below previous waves, infections and hospital admissions are rising across the country, driven by the variant Omicron BA.2.

The UK surpassed 200,000 deaths on June 25 – although this has only just been confirmed due to the time it takes for deaths to be registered.

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    This includes 368 in Ards and North Down by July 1, according to the latest data on the Government’s coronavirus dashboard.

    This means 227.1 people have died per 100,000 people – lower than the 326.8 average for Northern Ireland as a whole.

    While infections have risen recently – with an estimated 3.5 million across the UK in the week ending July 7 the number of deaths has slowed significantly compared to previous peaks, with vaccines weakening the link between infection and serious illness.

    However, some have warned against complacency in the fight against Covid.

    Jo Goodman, co-founder of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice campaign, called the 200,000 deaths “a tragedy” and “yet another damning milestone of the Government’s handling of the pandemic”.

    She added: “454 people died within 28 days of a positive test from Covid just last week and yet the Government refuses to take even basic steps to protect people from the virus.

    “By, for instance, making people pay for tests, not enforcing adequate sick pay or taking measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in hospitals, the Government is effectively throwing the most vulnerable in our society to the wolves.”

    Figures for the whole of Northern Ireland show there have been 4,673 deaths over the course of the pandemic.

    Ruth Driscoll of the Marie Curie end-of-life charity said: “The scale of loss people have faced over the last two years has made it more important than ever that those who have been bereaved can receive support from services if they need to – the Government must provide targeted funding in the areas with the longest waiting times.”

    The coronavirus dashboard does not cover the number of new cases in Northern Ireland.

    Across the UK, many cases are likely going unreported as people with Covid-19 symptoms are no longer advised to test themselves regularly.

    Access to free tests is also now limited to only a small part of the population.

    A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Department of Health said: "It is clear that after a period of reducing case numbers we are now seeing a rise in cases."

    "Whilst prevalence continues to be relatively high, thankfully the overall risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and death for those who contract COVID-19 is much lower than during previous waves.

    "That said, we continue to see severe pressures in our hospitals and the contribution of COVID-19, even though admission numbers are smaller than in previous waves, adds to these pressures.

    "As we move forward together, and continue learning to live life COVID aware, we would urge people to use personal judgment, to act responsibly and to take sensible actions to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections."