UK first country in Europe to pass 50,000 deaths

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The UK’s Covid death toll has reached a grim and tragic milestone – and illustrates what a devastating impact the pandemic has had on the country.

But one figure alone cannot tell the full story. The burden has not been felt equally.

The single biggest factor has been age – with more than nine in 10 deaths in the over-65s.

Poorer areas and ethnic minorities have also been disproportionately affected.

Deaths from other causes have also risen as people have gone without treatment.

The UK has on most measures seen one of the highest death rates in the world.

Blame, understandably, has been laid at the government’s door. It has been criticised in particular for being too slow to lockdown and for its record on testing and tracing.

But the UK is not alone in struggling. Similar debates have been had in Italy, Spain and France.

And the sad reality is this figure will keep climbing in the months to come.

But there is now at last some real hope that, with a vaccine looking likely, the toll will be much, much less next year.

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