Chris Whitty warns ‘we could get into trouble again very fast’ as cases ‘double’

Chris Whitty warns more restrictions could be round the corner if Covid cases continue to surge.

The chief medical officer warned of a ‘scary’ uptick in hospitalisations (Picture: PA/Getty)

Professor Chris Whitty has warned that the UK could ‘get into trouble again surprisingly fast’ if Covid cases and hospitalisations continue to spiral.

The chief medical officer of England warned that more people could be hospitalised with the virus in ‘in five, six, seven, eight weeks’ time’ – suggesting the Government may be forced to look at measures to curb the spread.

He added: ‘At that point, if it looks as if things are not topping out, we do have to look again and see where we think things are going.’

The CMO warned that ‘we could get into trouble again surprisingly fast’ and that the country is ‘not by any means out of the woods yet’.

His comments come just days before so-called ‘Freedom Day’ on Monday when almost all legal Covid restrictions will be lifted.

Boris Johnson and the CMO maintain it is the right time to lift measures, despite the Government’s admission that the UK could reach 100,000 new daily cases this summer.

Prof Whitty tonight raised concerns over a potential ‘scary’ uptick in hospitalisations after restrictions lift.

Speaking at a webinar hosted by the Science Museum on Thursday evening, Prof Whitty said: ‘Currently this epidemic is doubling. It’s doubling in cases. It is also doubling in people going to hospital, and it’s doubling in deaths.’

From Monday, face masks will no longer be mandatory (Picture: AP)
The UK today recorded its highest daily number of cases in six months (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

‘We’ve still got over 2,000 people in hospital, and that number is increasing,’ he added.

‘If we double from 2,000 to 4,000, from 4,000 to 8,000, to 8,000 and so on, it doesn’t take many doubling times till you’re into very very large numbers indeed.’ 

‘We are not by any means out of the woods yet on this, we are in much better shape due to the vaccine programme, and drugs and a variety of other things,’ added the CMO.

‘But this has got a long way to run in the UK, and it’s got even further to run globally.’

His comments came as the country today recorded its highest daily number of cases in six months, with 48,533 people testing positive and 63 deaths.

Hospitalisations are also continuing to spike, with an almost 47% increase in the past week alone.

Prof Whitty added that despite the success of the jab rollout, the virus could mutate into a ‘vaccine escape variant’ that could take the UK ‘some of the way backwards’ into the worst days of the pandemic.

He said: ‘The further out in time we go, the more tools we have at our disposal from science, the less likely that is but you can never take that possibility completely off the table.

‘But you know, science has done a phenomenal job so far and it will continue to do so.’

Experts and politicians have raised concerns over the significant shift from state to ‘personal responsibility’, slamming the Government’s Freedom Day plans as ‘irresponsible’ and ‘reckless’.

The scrapping of mandatory face masks has sparked significant backlash, with mayors across the country and transport networks insisting they will continue to enforce the wearing of face coverings.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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