More than 100,000 people in the UK have died within 28 days of receiving a positive test result for COVID-19.
The UK became the first European nation – and the fifth in the world, after the US, Brazil, India and Mexico – to pass the landmark, after a surge in cases in recent weeks driven by a new, fast-spreading variant of the virus.
Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said the milestone was “a heartbreaking reminder of how many people have lost their lives to this dreadful disease and the terrible toll it has placed on family and friends”.
“The lives they lived should be remembered and we should never forget that behind every statistic is somebody’s life taken too soon. We must continue to do all we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones from this deadly virus.”
He added: “Vaccination uptake remains encouraging and will be our ultimate route out of this crisis.”
Councils have been at the forefront of encouraging people to have the vaccine, and the Government has allocated more than £23 million to 60 councils and voluntary groups across England to expand work to support those most at risk from COVID-19, and to boost vaccine take-up.
The Community Champions scheme is intended to build trust and provide accurate health information by using helplines, schools, workplaces and training sessions to reach people who are older, disabled and from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Recent studies and surveys have suggested that people from minority ethnic backgrounds may be less likely to get vaccinated, despite being at a higher risk of death if they contract COVID-19.
Cllr Hudspeth said: “Councils’ unique relationship with the people they represent means they are well placed to reach out to those in the priority groups and beyond. They will continue to do all they can to make sure that everyone has the information they need to stay safe and healthy.”
Meanwhile, as first was going to press, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that schools in England will not re-open to all pupils until 8 March at the earliest, subject to “lots of things going right”.