Scientists have called for even tougher restrictions on Brits as the number of Covid-19 deaths teetered over 74,000 today.
Coronavirus continues to plague the UK as infection rates soar into the New Year.
The UK’s all-important ‘R’ number is now sitting somewhere between 1.1 and 1.3, meaning the virus is growing.
It needs to be under 1.0 for Covid-19 to be considered shrinking, but a hugely infections mutated strain has continued to wreak havoc.
According to new research, the fresh strain is more transmissible than the version first encountered last year.
In England today cases exceeded 50,000 for the fourth day running – and an eight-year-old boy was among the latest victims to die after testing positive.
Sobering statistics show that the total number of UK cases is now a staggering 2,542,065, and the total number of deaths with 28 days of a positive test to 74,125.
Meanwhile, scientists have warned that tougher restrictions will soon be needed to combat the disease.
New research by Imperial college shows that the second lockdown last year failed to get a grip on infection rates.
In fact, the transmission actually tripled, Cornwall Live reported.
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Prof Axel Gandy of London's Imperial College told BBC News the differences between the viruses types was "quite extreme".
He said: "There is a huge difference in how easily the variant virus spreads."
"This is the most serious change in the virus since the epidemic began."
There are now growing calls from the scientific community for a tougher set of restrictions, something like the first national lockdown.
Prof Jim Naismith, of Oxford University, said: "The data from Imperial represent the best analysis to date and imply that the measures we have employed to date, would – with the new virus – fail to reduce the R number to below 1.
"In simpler terms, unless we do something different the new virus strain is going to continue to spread, more infections, more hospitalisations and more deaths."
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