The UK recorded its two worst days in a row for coronavirus and now the country 'is on a much worse trajectory for deaths than China'

The UK recorded its two worst days in a row for coronavirus and now the country 'is on a much worse trajectory for deaths than China'
nhs nightingale hospital london

Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images


Soldiers and private contractors help to prepare the ExCel centre which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus on March 30, 2020 in London, England.

  • The UK's current coronavirus death toll indicates the country is on a worse trajectory than China, according to economists Pantheon Macroeconomics.
  • The country recorded two worst-ever death tolls in a row on Tuesday and Wednesday, with 944 deaths from the virus in 48 hours.
  • This might mean a lockdown of three months is needed, the Pantheon analysts said. The country began a three-week strict lockdown on March 23.
  • While there is currently overwhelming support for the measure, unrest in Italy suggests it may be politically harder to continue the restrictions for so long, the economists argued.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The UK is on a much worse trajectory for coronavirus deaths than China, according to economists at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

The country recorded 381 deaths overnight on Tuesday, which was the country's biggest increase in deaths so far -until Wednesday, April 1, when 563 people were announced to have died of the infection. There were 4,324 new cases of infection reported Wednesday, another steep jump upward.

The new numbers are a negative surprise, because in the previous week it appeared that growth in infections was slowing down. That no longer appears to be the case. The UK's stats now show a steeper curve for deaths than that in the US.


The economists said that with this rate, a lockdown of three months at least will be needed to bring infections under control. The UK's full lockdown began on March 23, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson barred the public from leaving their homes other than for essential jobs and short supply and exercise trips.

The UK reports 29,474 cases of coronavirus, placing the country behind Italy, Spain, Germany and France in terms of numbers of infections. But as coronavirus testing is not widespread in the UK, those numbers are likely to be an underestimation.

europe death toll chart pantheon macroeconomics

Pantheon Macroeconomics

A chart showing the UK's trajectory on new coronavirus deaths over seven day rolling periods, compared to other affected countries.

"The grim reality is that the U.K. is on a much worse trajectory for deaths than China," wrote Pantheon Economics economist Samuel Tombs in a report seen by Business Insider. "Britain seems to be charting a dark path no better than that trodden by Italy, with a lag of about two weeks."


"The virus evidently has spread more comprehensively through the population in the UK than in China, implying that deaths will take longer to fall back to levels that might persuade the government to ease the current restrictions crippling the economy."

coronavirus london lockdownGetty

Currently, there is overwhelming public support in the UK for the lockdown measures. According to pollsters YouGov, 93% of people "strongly" backed Johnson's three-week lockdown plan.

However, this may become more difficult to sustain for three months more as the costs to the economy hit, wrote Tombs. Italy, which has been under lockdown since March 9, is now experiencing unrest, according to Sky News. In some regions, Italians have taken to the streets to beg for food and money. Police have been sent to defend supermarkets after people began stealing food, Sky reported.

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