Britain has now seen more coronavirus deaths than any other country in Europe, passing Italy for the first time since the pandemic took hold, officials confirmed.
As of Wednesday morning, the UK had lost 29,501 to the contagion, according to John Hopkins University data — overtaking the 29,315 seen in Italy, which had long been the continent’s hardest hit.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called it a “massive tragedy” and “something in this country, on this scale, in this way that we’ve never seen before.”
The death toll is second only to the US, which by Wednesday had reached 71,078, the data shows.
While the recorded deaths were higher, Spain and Italy had both recorded more confirmed infections than the UK. Taking into account countries’ populations, the UK’s per capita death rate is also below those in Italy, Spain and Belgium.
Officials also warned off making international comparisons, partly because of apparent differences in the way countries report deaths.
“I don’t think we’ll get a real verdict on how well countries have done until the pandemic is over and particularly until we’ve got comprehensive international data on all-cause mortality,” Raab said.
Professor David Spiegelhalter, a leading statistician at the University of Cambridge, said it was “pointless to try to rank” the countries, saying, “This is not the Eurovision [Song Contest].”
“I think we can safely say that none of these countries are doing well,” he said.
With Post wires