A further 345 lives have been lost to Covid-19, bringing the UK’s death toll to 122,415, the government has announced.

There were 8,523 confirmed new cases of the virus in 24 hours, latest figures show.

The daily death toll remains high, although the number of new infections has fallen sharply since the start of 2021.

It is now estimated that one in 145 people in the community have the virus in England, alongside one in 205 in Wales, one in 195 in Northern Ireland and one in 225 in Scotland.

At the start of the year it was estimated that one in 50 would test positive for Covid-19 in England.

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The UK’s R rate is now thought to be as low as 0.6

The number of daily deaths is also falling, with experts optimistic that lockdown and the vaccine rollout is saving lives.

A week ago 533 fatalities were announced, while a fortnight ago there were 758.

A month ago, on January 26, 1,631 Covid deaths were confirmed by the Department of Health.

Earlier today health authorities confirmed 352 Covid patients had died in UK hospitals.

NHS England reported another 307 deaths, Scotland reported 27 deaths, there were another 16 deaths in Wales, and two more deaths in Northern Ireland.

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Earlier today the Mirror reported that Bradford, Peterborough and Bury are projected to be England’s Covid hotspots when the lockdown easing starts in just over a week.

New research suggests many of the worst-affected areas will be in Yorkshire & Humber and the East Midlands when schools reopen on March 8, the first step towards reopening the country.

Kirklees, Wakefield, Corby, Rutland and Leicester are also predicted to have some of the highest rates in England, behind Bradford, Peterborough and Bury, while rates in the South are lower.

Infection rates were still high in parts of the North and Midlands when the first lockdown was eased last summer, triggering a spike in cases in places such as Leicester and Liverpool, and a series of local lockdowns that led to the tier system being imposed.

Behind the scenes at University Hospital Southampton during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic

The UK’s death rate has fallen significantly since the start of the year, but still remains high (file image)
(Image: Adam Gerrard / Sunday Mirror)

The UK’s coronavirus reproduction (R) number could still be as low as 0.6, according to the Government’s latest estimate.

The number of new infections is shrinking by up to six per cent every day as tough lockdown measures remain in place across the country.

The latest R estimate for the whole of the UK is between 0.6 and 0.9 – unchanged from last week – and the growth rate estimate for the UK is now between -6% and -2%.

An R value between 0.6 and 0.9 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between six and nine other people.

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