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UK could face 50,000 new coronavirus cases a day by mid October

PUBLISHED: 11:57 21 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:11 21 September 2020

The government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance spoke at a Downing Street briefing today at 11am to reveal how quickly the rate of Covid-19 infections are rising. Picture: PA Video/PA Wire

The government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance spoke at a Downing Street briefing today at 11am to reveal how quickly the rate of Covid-19 infections are rising. Picture: PA Video/PA Wire

The UK could be facing 50,000 new Covid-19 cases a day by mid October - and 200 deaths a day by mid November, the government has warned.

The government's chief medical officer Chris Whitty said though cases were initially rising among young people, they are now rising across all age groups. PA Video/PA WireThe government's chief medical officer Chris Whitty said though cases were initially rising among young people, they are now rising across all age groups. PA Video/PA Wire

Chief scientific officer Sir Patrick Vallance and England’s chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, revealed the forecasted rise in a briefing at 11am on Monday.

Sir Patrick said: “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.

“The challenge therefore is to make sure the doubling time does not stay at seven days.”

A study by the National Office for Statistics (ONS) estimates 70,000 people currently have coronavirus, with 6,000 infections per day.

The rise in cases could lead to an eventual rise in hospitalisations, which will inevitably lead to a rise in deaths.

It was also revealed that although virus cases were initially rising among young people aged around 20 years old, they are now rising across all age groups.

Mr Whitty said the country has “in a bad sense literally turned a corner” with the number of cases which could lead to an exponential rise in deaths if allowed to carry on unabated.

He also warned that the virus is a collective problem and warned of the need to break “unnecessary” links between households, as that is the way the virus is spreading.

There were no new measures announced today, though some expect harsher restrictions on households mixing to be enforced soon.

Sir Patrick added that an estimated 8% of the UK population could have antibodies. However, this does not mean they had “absolute protection” and any immunity would fade with time.

There has been some progress on vaccinations as there are now 240 vaccine candidates globally, with 40 in clinical trials.


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