Coronavirus Minute Infos: Scientists warn of ‘50,000 cases a day’ if infections keep rising

The Government’s top scientific advisers have warned that unless swift action is taken to rein in the rising number of coronavirus infections they could skyrocket to 50,000 per day within a month.

In a presentation of the latest Covid-19 data, chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance cited Spain and France as examples of where the rise in new infections ‘started with younger people in their 20s and spread gradually to older ages as well’. He added: ‘That increasing case number has translated into an increase in hospitalisations.

‘As the hospitalisations have increased, very sadly, but not unexpectedly, deaths are also increasing.’

The ‘simple message’, he said, is that ‘as the disease spreads, as it spreads across age groups, we expect to see increasing hospitalisations and unfortunately, those increasing hospitalisations will lead to increasing deaths’.

Moving on to data for England, Sir Patrick said that the number of cases per 100,000 in the population have increased from July through August and into September ‘across all age groups’.

According to the latest study by the Office of National Statistics ‘roughly 70,000 people in the UK have Covid infection and about 6,000 people per day are getting the infection’.

Sir Patrick added: ‘So we are in a situation where numbers are clearly increasing.’ He went on: ‘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. ‘50,000 cases per day would be expected to lead a month later, so the middle of November say, to 200-plus deaths per day.

It comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock suggested that it could be six months before life returned to normal.

“I really hope, if this vaccine or one of the vaccines comes off in the early bit of next year, we are looking, I hope, by next summer,” he said.

Prof Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance were due to publish the latest data on the deadly disease in a bid to encourage the public to stick to the rules.

The CMO was due to say: “The trend in the UK is heading in the wrong direction and we are at a critical point in the pandemic.

“We are looking at the data to see how to manage the spread of the virus ahead of a very challenging winter period.”

‘The challenge therefore is to make sure the doubling time does not stay at seven days. ‘There are already things in place which are expected to slow that, and to make sure that we do not enter this exponential growth and end up with the problems that you would predict as a result of that.

‘That requires speed, it requires action and it requires and it requires enough in order to be able to bring that down.’

Boris Johnson will address the nation as early as tomorrow after his Health Secretary warned the country was at “tipping point” into a second wave of coronavirus.

The Prime Minister is expected to announce that tougher lockdown restrictions will be imposed across England to prevent the disease spiralling out of control.

Asked about a potential lockdown, Mr Hancock told ITV’s This Morning: “If we do have to take action it will be different from last time.

“We have learned a huge amount about how to tackle the virus.”

He added: “I want Christmas to be as normal as possible and the more we can control the virus now and stop the spread now, the easier it’s going to be to have a Christmas that’s as close to normal as possible.”

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