The Government said a further 1,820 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 – the highest number of UK deaths reported on a single day since the outbreak began.
It comes just 24 hours after 1,610 were recorded – the former daily record, but not one we wish to be recording.
The total number of cases recorded in the last day is 38,905.
Sir Patrick Vallance said the country still has a long way to go in battling coronavirus – describing scenes in some hospitals as a “war zone” – but added there is “light at the end of the tunnel”.
It comes as calculations by the PA news agency show the Government needs to hit an average of 384,000 first doses per day to reach a target of vaccinating 15 million of the most vulnerable by February 15.
New figures released on Wednesday show the total number of people given first doses in Great Britain now stands at nearly 4.5 million.
The Government has pledged that all those in the top priority groups, including the over-70s and frontline health and social care workers, will have received an offer to have had their first dose of the jab given to them by mid-February.
In a Q&A with Sky News viewers, Sir Patrick was asked if the lockdown would be kept in place if infection figures stayed the same or dropped.
“The advice at the moment is vaccines are not going to do the heavy lifting for us at the moment, anywhere near it,” he said.
“This is about, I’m afraid, the restrictive measures which we’re all living under and carrying on with those.
“The numbers are nowhere near where they need to be at the moment, they need to come down quite a lot further – we need to make sure we stick with it.
“You go for a walk in the park or something, life looks normal; you go for a walk in a hospital, if you work in a hospital, you will see life not looking normal at all.
“This is a really difficult, dangerous situation we’re in, and we need to get the numbers down, so I don’t see a release of these measures as being a sensible thing to do in the short term.”