There could be almost 50,000 daily new cases of coronavirus by the middle of October and 200 new deaths a day by mid-November, the government’s chief scientific adviser has warned.
In an address to the nation on Monday, Sir Patrick Vallance said there could be 49,000 new COVID-19 cases on 13 October if the current rate of infection continues.
That would lead to 200 new deaths per day a month later, Sir Patrick warned.
The figure is based on projections of case numbers doubling every seven days.
Sir Patrick said the figure of 49,000 from an “example scenario” was “not a prediction”.
It was calculated based on four doublings from 3,015 new cases on 15 September.
He said: “This is how quickly this can move if the doubling time stays at seven days.”
He added: “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.”
Sir Patrick was speaking alongside England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty. The pair warned the UK is at a “critical point” in the coronavirus pandemic.
Prime minister Boris Johnson spent the weekend considering whether to introduce a second coronavirus lockdown in England.
He is reportedly considering a two-week mini lockdown, according to the BBC.
On Sunday, there was a backlash following reports the government will lift the rule of six for 24 hours on Christmas Day to allow families to see each other.
Health secretary Matt Hancock has said he would report a neighbour to police for breaking COVID-19 self-isolation rules.
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