Figures suggest cases ‘continued to rise steeply’ (Picture: AFP, Reuters, AP)
The Government’s doomsday warning of 50,000 Covid-19 cases per day by the middle of October appears to have been proven accurate, the latest data shows.
Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty, the country’s chief scientific and medical advisers, announced the stark projection at a Downing Street press conference in September, adding that we could see 200-plus daily deaths in November.
The numbers were criticised by other scientists as ‘not scientifically accurate’ and ‘implausible’.
But the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) infection survey, published on Friday, found coronavirus cases ‘continued to rise steeply’, with an average of 51,900 new cases per day in private homes between October 17 and 23.
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Government scientists are now confident that there are more than 50,000 infections a day.
It comes after the latest figures showed the UK seven-day average number of reported daily deaths s within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test was 230 between October 23 and 29.
This is a few weeks earlier than Sir Patrick’s warning of 200 deaths a day by the middle of November.
Speaking in September, he said that it was ‘not a prediction’ but the current doubling of cases every seven days could lead to a dramatic rise in hospitalisations and deaths.
At that stage there were around 3,000 new cases recorded every day in the UK.
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.
Millions more people in northern England face stricter coronavirus rules next week (Picture: AFP via Getty)
‘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 enough in order to be able to bring that down.’
Scientists now believe the virus is ‘running riot’, while newspapers report that the country is heading towards a
second national lockdown as early as next week.
The Prime Minister could announce the measures, which would see everything except essential shops and education settings closed for a month, as early as Monday.
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