The UK could see 50,000 new coronavirus cases a day by mid-October without further action, the government’s top scientific adviser has warned in a press briefing.
Sir Patrick Vallance said that outcome “would be expected to lead to about 200 deaths per day” a month after that.
UK PM Boris Johnson is said to be considering whether to introduce stricter lockdown measures in England in light of the growing number of cases across the UK. On Sunday, 3,899 daily cases were reported and 18 deaths across the UK. The worrying pattern mirrors that of a number of major European countries.
Fellow adviser Professor Chris Whitty explained at the briefing: “At the moment we think the epidemic is doubling roughly every seven days. If, and that’s quite a big if, but if that continues unabated, and this grows, doubling every seven days… if that continued you would end up with something like 50,000 cases in the middle of October per day. Fifty-thousand cases per day would be expected to lead a month later, so the middle of November say, to 200-plus deaths per day.”
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The duo, who urged “collective” action to halt the surge, said that the UK’s rising number of cases could not be put down to an increase in testing as there is also an “increase in positivity of the tests done.”
Among stats to come out of the briefing were that around 70,000 people in the UK are estimated to currently have the disease – and about 6,000 per day are catching it, according to an ONS study.
Less than 8% of the population has been infected, although the figure could be as high as 17% in London, and the virus is not milder now than in April, despite some claims to the contrary.
The scientists said that it’s possible “that some vaccine could be available before the end of the year in small amounts for certain groups” but “the first half of next year” is much more likely.
The UK entertainment sector, like most others, will be following the developments closely with another national lockdown likely to cause further economic pain.