Coronavirus: UK could see 49,000 cases a day by mid-October if surge continues, govt advisers warn
Written by Colin Dixon on 21st September 2020
The UK could see 49,000 daily new cases by mid-October if coronavirus infections continue to double every seven days, Sir Patrick Vallance has warned.
At a Downing Street briefing, the chief scientific adviser shared a graph that shows how infections could surge quickly unless action is taken to slow the pandemic’s spread.
Should new cases reach this level, Sir Patrick warned that this would lead to “200-plus deaths a day” by mid-November.
He was joined by Professor Chris Whitty for the briefing, which aimed to set out potential scenarios as cases in the UK continue to rise.
At present, the number of coronavirus cases are doubling every seven to eight days.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering tightening measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus amid a rise in the number of cases.
Daily confirmed cases have returned to levels last seen in May.
And the R number, which shows the spread of the virus, is now between 1.1 and 1.4.
Professor Whitty has warned that infection rates are “heading in the wrong direction” – and the country is at a “critical point” in the pandemic.
About 13.5 million people across the UK are currently facing some form of local COVID-19 restrictions.
Boris Johnson has said he does not want to put the country into a second national lockdown – but he has warned that he may need to “intensify things” to bring the rate of infections down.
It is understood that Downing Street is looking at introducing temporary nationwide restrictions to try and “short-circuit” the virus.
However, government figures have stressed the plans being drawn up stop short of the full national lockdown that was introduced back in March.
Proposals being worked up could see essential travel to schools and workplaces continuing, but restaurants and bars shut – or perhaps operating on restricted hours – with different households told not to mix at all.
The restrictions could be put in place for two weeks, but the timing and duration has yet to be finalised.
There has been speculation of such a lockdown taking place around the time of school half-term in October.