Two fans of Manchester City soccer club stand out for wearing face masks during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Burnley on October 16, 2021.

Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images  https://networktoday.org

LONDON — When the Covid-19 pandemic swept the globe in 2020, the U.K. was hit hard, reporting some of the highest cases numbers and fatalities in Europe. A speedy vaccination program managed to turn things around, however, and brought cases under control.

Now the situation looks dramatically different. The country is recording close to 50,000 new Covid cases a day — meaning it has one of the worst daily infection rates in the world.

new cases were recorded, marking the highest number in three months and taking the total number of cases to over 8.4 million in the U.K. The country also reported 45 new deaths within 28 days of a positive test, bringing the total number of fatalities to 138,629 — one of the highest death tolls in the world.

Meanwhile, hospitalizations and deaths have been steadily increasing since the summer when Covid restrictions in England were lifted on July 19. Pubs, restaurants and nightclubs reopened and mask-wearing became (for the most part) voluntary.