Covid cases could hit 200k a day after July 19, Neil Ferguson warns

Professor Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist from Imperial College London, outlined how deaths from coronavirus could rise to around 200 a day under one of the bleakest scenarios, or some 25,000 in the third wave which has hit the country and is being fuelled by the Delta variant.

However, he believes the Government’s action in removing restrictions is “justifiable” and is “reasonably optimistic” that the country will escape some of the grimmer projections given the high levels of vaccinations in the UK.

Professor Ferguson, whose work was key to the Prime Minister ordering the first lockdown in March 2020, said the ratio between cases and deaths has been reduced by around eight to ten fold compared to the second wave.

“At the peak of the second wave, 50,000 cases would translate into something like 500 deaths,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“But that is going to be much, much lower..this time, more like 50 or so.

“The challenge is there is still the potential of getting very large numbers of cases and this is the million dollar question..if we get very high numbers of cases a day – 150,000, 200,000 – it still could cause some pressure to the health system and of course some public health burden.”

New Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the next phase of the pandemic was “unchartered territory” which could see 100,000 cases a day, but stressed the “wall of defence” from vaccines would keep deaths far lower than in earlier waves.

“As we ease and go into the summer we expect them to rise significantly and they could go as high as 100,000.”

He added: “But what matters more than anything is hospitalisation and death numbers and that is where the link has been severely weakened.


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