Cases were estimated to have been as high as 100,000 per day at the peak of the first wave in April.
The death figures continue to be affected by a lag in the publication of recent data and will contain some deaths that took place over the Christmas and New Year period that have only just been reported.
The country's total COVID-19 death toll since the start of the pandemic is over 78,500, the highest in Europe.
On Friday the United Kingdom recorded 1,325 virus deaths, the highest daily toll of the pandemic, as well as a record 68,053 confirmed new cases.
"Each life lost to this virus is a tragedy, but sadly we can expect the death toll to continue to rise until we stop the spread", said Dr. William Welfare, Director for the COVID-19 response at Public Health England. By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.
He continued: "One of the big concerns now is will the lockdown measures be enough to reduce it?"
The advertising campaign will run across TV, radio, newspapers and on social media and will feature images of patients in hospital.
He said that unless "immediate action" is taken now, the NHS could be overwhelmed.
With a highly transmissable new variant of the virus surging across Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has shuttered the economy and is rushing out vaccines faster than the country's European neighbours in a bid to stem the pandemic.
The rise in infections is in part due to the new much more contagious variant of Covid-19 that was detected past year. "You put those two things together, alongside the NHS being in crisis, we should have a stricter rather than less strict lockdown than we had back in March".
Asked by the BBC whether he believed the NHS could be overwhelmed in two weeks, he said: "I never thought in my entire career that I would say something like this but yes, I do".
More than half of all major hospital trusts in England now have more Covid-19 patients than at the peak of the first wave.
The situation comes even as Britain ramps up delivery of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines, with more than one million people already receiving a first jab.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared London a major incident because the spread of the Covid-19 virus was out of control.
NHS England figures showed the number of Covid patients in London hospitals stands at 7,277, up 32% on the previous week.
HSJ, a website for healthcare professionals, on Wednesday leaked a briefing by the head of NHS London, Vin Diwakar, saying the capital could be short of almost 1,500 beds for general and acute patients by January 19.
The Office for National Statistics estimated that 1.1 million people in England had the coronavirus in the week to January 2, the equivalent of one person in 50.
London and the south-east of England have been the areas worst-hit by the new variant.
In a more positive development, a third COVID-19 vaccine, from U.S. biotech firm Moderna, was given the green light by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) - joining the vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca.