Hundreds of people have died from coronavirus in North Somerset, 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.
This includes 495 in North Somerset by July 13, according to the latest data on the Government’s coronavirus dashboard.
This means 229.6 people have died per 100,000 people – lower than the 279.7 average for England as a whole as of July 12.
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 the South West show there have been 11,227 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 same figures show there have been 803 new cases in name in the last week – but 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 Department of Health and Social Care said: “Every death from this virus is a tragedy and our sympathies are with everyone who has lost loved ones.
"We are committed to learning lessons from the pandemic and will be cooperating fully with the Covid-19 public inquiry.
“We are rightly focusing testing on those at higher risk of severe illness and our world-leading Covid vaccination programme has saved countless lives and continues to do so – more than four in five of those eligible have received their Spring booster and we urge anyone eligible to get their jab.
“NHS England has already begun preparations to ensure they are ready to deploy Covid vaccines to those eligible as part of an Autumn Covid booster programme to ensure protection is maintained ahead of Winter.”