New figures reveal that the North East has now had the highest rate of coronavirus deaths in England since the start of the pandemic.
More than 2,000 people have died in the North East from COVID-19.
Deaths as a result of COVID-19 were recorded in the North East up to Tuesday 2 June.
The figures were released by Public Health England, and show data up until Tuesday 2 June.
The statistics outline the incidence rate of the virus and death rate of the virus, per 100,000 of the population.
There have been 78.3 deaths of people who have tested positive for coronavirus per 100,000 living in the North East.
people, per 100,000 living in the North East have died after testing positive for coronavirus.
The North East figure has now overtaken that of the North West region which had 78.2 deaths per 100,000 of the population.
people, per 100,000 living in the North West have died after testing positive for coronavirus.
The figures were revealed as doctors in the North East raised concerns about the impact of easing lockdown measures.
The British Medical Association says more time is needed to prove the new test and trace system will work.
In a recent BMA survey, doctors in North East revealed fears around a second peak of Covid-19 that has the potential to overwhelm the health service. 46% of doctors in the region expressed that they were not confident in their ability to manage a second influx of Covid-19 cases.
of North East doctors say they're not confident they'll be able to cope with a second wave of COVID.
The government responded to concerns raised by the BMA;
The Government has been very clear that any easing of lockdown measures has to be done in a slow and cautious way which avoids a second peak of the virus that could overwhelm the NHS. Thanks to the efforts of the public, the Government’s five tests are now being met, which means we can begin making small steps towards the next phase of lifting the lockdown. The new NHS Test and Trace service is up and running, and will help keep the virus under control as we continue to make progress in easing the lockdown.”
Early on in the outbreak, London had the highest rate of deaths as a result of coronavirus, however in recent weeks, the Northern regions' death rates have risen to overtake the capital.
The analysis adds evidence to suggestions that Covid-19 took hold later in the North East, and has persisted at a relatively high level.
Socio-economic factors such a the level of poverty and pre-existing health conditions are believed to be linked to how severely different places have been affected by the virus.
The North East also has the highest rate of people who have tested positive for coronavirus of any part of England.