Black Country coronavirus death rate now highest in UK
The Black Country now has the highest coronavirus death rate of anywhere in the country, according to official NHS figures.
Covid-19 related deaths have surged across the region over the past week, with the death rate in the Black Country and West Birmingham area currently standing at just under five per 100,000 people.
The South West London Health & Care Partnership was next worst with just under four deaths per 100,000 population.
Meanwhile figures from the Health Service Journal and Johns Hopkins University show the number of deaths from coronavirus in the Midlands is around 200 fewer than were recorded in Italy at the same stage of the pandemic.
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Professor Steve Field, chairman of the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, said: "It feels like we are at the epicentre here in the Black Country."
It came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned households that "things will get worse before they get better", with the UK's lockdown likely to last into the summer.
As of Sunday there had been 133 deaths from Covid-19 in the Black Country and Birmingham, with Wolverhampton and Dudley particularly badly hit.
As of Sunday 41 coronavirus patients had died in Wolverhampton and 20 had died in Dudley, although only two had died in Walsall. Seventy had died across Sandwell and Birmingham.
Prof Field praised NHS staff in the city, saying they are "working flexibly with great care and skill to look after increasing numbers of very poorly patients".
"I am hugely impressed by them all," he added.
He also said there was "no panic" among health workers, and that "great planning" had taken place "over many months" from the executive team at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust.
The figures were compiled on March 27. The UK is thought to be around two weeks behind Italy – the world's worst hit country – in terms of Covid-19 cases and deaths.
The death rate in the Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin STP area is around 0.6 per 100,000, while in Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent it is just under 0.5.
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