Personnel wearing personal protective equipment assist a patient in an ambulance at St Thomas’ Hospital, London on March 24, 2020.
Daniel Leal-Olivas | AFP via Getty Images
Britain will be hit hardest by the coronavirus crisis than any other European country, researchers say, the UK is expected to see more than 60,000 deaths from COVID-19.
New research from the Institute of Metrology and Health Assessment (IHME), published Monday with a correction published Tuesday, predicts a total of 151,000 deaths across Europe during the “first wave” of the pandemic, which scientists say will end on August 4.
It compares to a total of 81,766 deaths that are expected to occur in the United States on the same date, according to analysts at the IHME.
The European analysis was based on data from various sources, including national and local governments, WHO and the social distancing policies of each country.
For many countries, the death toll would be influenced by the demand for hospital resources “far beyond what is available,” the researchers said.
“For example, peak demand in the UK is expected to total 102,794 hospital beds required, compared to 17,765 available, 24,544 intensive care beds versus 799 available intensive care beds and 20,862 ventilators required,” said they explained, noting that data on the availability of fans in Britain was currently unavailable.
According to the analysis, Britain is set to reach its maximum daily death rate on April 17, when researchers predicted that there would be a total of 2,932 deaths in one day. The country was on a path that would cause a total of 66,314 deaths as of August 4, the scientists concluded.
However, the IHME prediction model has been challenged, with Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London telling The Guardian that his figures on hospital bed use and deaths were twice as high as they should be.
Imperial College London, which helped shape the UK government’s response to the pandemic, estimates that the total number of deaths from COVID-19 in Britain will be between 7,000 and 20,000.
To date, more than 7,000 people in the UK have died after contracting the virus. But at a press briefing on Tuesday, the government’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, said it was possible that the number of new cases in Britain “is moving in the right direction”.
The British government put in place foreclosure measures at the end of March, urging citizens to leave their homes only for exercise, for medical purposes, to buy basic necessities or to go to work if necessary. However, the government was criticized from the start of the country’s epidemic for being too cautious in its approach to controlling the spread of the virus.
The IHME – currently the country with the highest number of deaths due to COVID-19 in the world – would have the second overall death toll in Europe, according to the IHME, with a total of 20,300 deaths expected on August 4.
There have so far been 17,669 deaths from the coronavirus and 139,422 confirmed cases in Italy, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. However, Italian health officials said on Sunday that the number of deaths and new infections was starting to drop.
In Spain, currently the country with the second highest number of deaths from COVID-19 in the world, researchers predicted that there would be a total of 19,209 deaths during the first wave of the pandemic.
According to Johns Hopkins University, 14,792 people have died of the coronavirus in Spain so far, but new cases and deaths are starting to slow, according to the data.
Malta and Cyprus predicted a total of 19 and 54 deaths respectively in August, according to forecasts from European countries which are expected to have the lowest total death toll in the region.
The maximum daily mortality rate for all of Europe is expected to occur in the third week of April, said the IHME.
The IHME, part of the University of Washington, originally developed its coronavirus forecast to help US hospitals and state governments determine when COVID-19 exceeds their ability to care for patients.