Today has been Britain’s darkest day yet in its coronavirus crisis with 854 more fatalities confirmed in the past 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 6,227 victims.

A 23-year-old who had no other known health problems was among those who have died, as well as hundreds of others aged up to 102. 29 people, in total, did not have any long-term illnesses before they caught COVID-19.

NHS England confirmed 758 people have died in its hospitals, with authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland announcing a further 96 between them.

Mail Online reports today: “The death toll is almost double the 437 announced yesterday and marks a new low for Britain in its battle against the epidemic.

“As the numbers of people dying has increased, so too have the numbers of past deaths which are being rolled into each day’s daily count. Some of the fatalities announced each day actually happened up to 10 days earlier but had not been recorded because of paperwork delays.

“Today’s statistics come as Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in intensive care in St Thomas’ Hospital in London after being transferred there last night. His spokesman says, however, that he is in good spirits and breathing on his own.

“Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, is standing in for Mr Johnson as deputy.

“Cabinet minister Michael Gove has been the latest figure at Whitehall to come face-to-face with the virus, today revealing that he was self-isolating for two weeks because a member of his family is ill.,” the report said.

“Scientists at the University of Washington have estimated that a shortage of intensive care beds in the UK could see it become the worst affected country in Europe, projecting that there would be 66,000 COVID-19 fatalities.

“Their study predicted the worst of Britain’s outbreak would happen in the coming weeks, in mid-April.

“The true number of coronavirus victims in England could be 80 per cent higher than official figures show because of a lag in the way deaths are recorded,” the report said.

“This was 78 percent lower than the 1,649 deaths recorded by NHS England during the same time frame.

“If the ratio has followed the same trajectory since then, England’s true death toll may be around 8,800, instead of the official 4,897.

“This is because it can takes days – or in some cases weeks – for a coronavirus death to be reported, recorded and fed back into the Government’s overall tally.

Medical staff outside St Thomas’ Hospital in London, where PM Boris Johnson is being treated

“The data does not include Scotland or Northern Ireland – up to March 27, 80 people had died in those countries (34 in Wales, 33 in Scotland and 13 in Northern Ireland).

“Meanwhile, statistics show COVID-19 is now responsible for almost one in 20 of all deaths every week in England and Wales.

“But other areas of England are being badly affected, too, with Scotland, Wales and and Northern Ireland combined recording fewer deaths (96) than the Midlands (142) or the East of England (101).

“Scotland revealed 74 more deaths had been recorded in the past 24 hours, along with 19 in Wales and three in Northern Ireland.

“Although the surge in the number of deaths recorded today is a drastic rise on those that emerged yesterday, a delay in recording data over the weekend could be to blame.

“And deaths being announced today are mostly from patients who were infected weeks ago, meaning they do not indicate that the virus is spreading faster than it was – some are even from patients who died weeks ago.

“Figures in the UK show that death numbers tend to dip on Mondays before a spike on Tuesday. Last week, however, the number continued to rise all week from Tuesday onwards.

“In brighter news for Britain this afternoon, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesperson has confirmed he is still in a stable condition and breathing on his own.

“His spokesperson says he is still ‘in good spirits’ and his having ‘standard oxygen therapy’, which is believed to be mild therapy via a mask or nasal tube.

“He has not been diagnosed with pneumonia, Downing Street confirmed.

“The 55-year-old’s spokesman said today: “The Prime Minister has been stable overnight and remains in good spirits.

“He is receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any other assistance. He has not required mechanical ventilation or non-invasive respiratory support.”

As it stands now: “Britain could be worst coronavirus-hit nation in Europe with 66,000 deaths in the first wave of the outbreak – three times Italy’s expected toll – because of the NHS’s shortage of hospital beds and intensive care capacity, warn scientists.

“Britain could suffer more than 60,000 coronavirus deaths and be hit harder by the the outbreak than any nation in Europe, leading scientists say.

“Modelling by researchers at the University of Washington predicted 151,680 people would succumb to the virus across the continent.

“It found the UK could record 66,300 COVID-19 deaths by July – almost half (44 per cent) of the entire fatalities in Europe and three times more than Italy (20,000).

“Spain (19,000) and France (15,000) will also record huge losses, according to the prediction, largely based on intensive care and hospital bed capacity.

“The researchers forecast Britain will need 100,000 beds by mid-April to cope with the crisis, compared to the 17,765 currently available.

“But the alarming projection does not take into account the thousands of beds that will become available at the new NHS Nightingale hospitals.

“The number is also in stark contrast to predictions by the UK’s leading scientific advisers, who warned around 20,000 people will die during the crisis.”