Fife’s COVID impact in numbers – four years on from UK’s first pandemic death

The impact of COVID in Fife was revealed as a day of reflection took place to remember all those who died during the pandemic.
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This month marks four years since the first Covid-19 death and our move into lockdown. It came as charities representing those who have lost loved ones to the virus and those still struggling with long Covid have called on the Government for more support.

The first reported death due to Covid-19 in the UK was reported on March 5, 2020. Since then, 230,626 deaths have been recorded up to December 2023, the final data update of the Government’s coronavirus dashboard. In Fife, 1,143 people died due to the virus. It meant the area had a coronavirus death rate of 306 per 100,000 people – below Scotland's overall death rate of 332 per 100,000 people.

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Daily coronavirus cases peaked across the UK on January 4, 2022, when over 275,600 cases were recorded. In Fife, they peaked when 24,964 cases were recorded throughout March 2022. This is compared to just 412 cases in September 2023 – the final full month with reporting on positive Covid-19 tests.

The National Covid Memorial Wall on the banks of the Thames in London (Pic: Fife Free Press)The National Covid Memorial Wall on the banks of the Thames in London (Pic: Fife Free Press)
The National Covid Memorial Wall on the banks of the Thames in London (Pic: Fife Free Press)

Rivka Gottlieb, spokesperson for Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK, said: "Over 230,600 people have now died from Covid-19 in the UK, often in awful circumstances and with their loved ones unable to be at their side as they passed away. This appalling number of deaths was not inevitable; adequate PPE and testing, a swifter lockdown and properly funded services would have saved thousands of lives."

She added: "The awful truth is very little has changed since the pandemic first hit the UK, and if a new disease struck tomorrow we would be just as poorly prepared and likely to repeat many of the same mistakes."

Ahead of the next election, she said all political parties must adopt the Covid Inquiry's recommendations so, the "horrors of the pandemic" are not repeated.

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The UK Covid-19 Inquiry is now on its sixth module, investigating the impact of the pandemic on the publicly and privately funded adult social care sector. The current module will also address the steps taken in adult care and residential homes to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Despite the significant drop in positive tests, people are still dealing with the impact of infection. The Office for National Statistics last estimate on the prevalence of long Covid in March 2023 found 1.9 million people in the UK – 2.9% of the population – reported having Covid-19 symptoms for more than four weeks after infection.

The Long Covid SOS charity said "more and more" people are developing the condition.

Ondine Sherwood, co-founder of the charity, said: "it feels like the world has moved on and left them behind. We do not have a 'cure' on the horizon, and this is unlikely because long Covid presents in so many different ways. There is still much to be done to help get people better. "We have always said there are lessons to be learnt from the pandemic and are committed to learning from the Covid-19 Inquiry’s findings, which will play a key role in informing the government’s planning and preparations for the future."