Covid-19 Infections Doubling Every Seven Days, Science Chiefs Warn
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The coronavirus pandemic will be a 'serious concern' for the next six months in the UK as coronavirus infections have steeply risen.
In an emergency coronavirus meeting, Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance warned that the rate of infections is doubling every seven days in England. If that were to continue, by the middle of October there could be 50,000 cases per day, leading to more than 200 deaths per day by mid-November.
Vallance said that despite low levels of immunity in the population, the 'vast majority of people' are 'still susceptible to infection', estimating that eight percent of people have been infected.
He explained that the increase in positive cases is not due to increased testing - the positivity of the tests is measured in proportion to the amount of tests carried out.
Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, warned that as well as maintaining social distancing measures, one of the keys to stopping the spread of the virus is to break 'unnecessary links between households'.
He said: "The trend in UK is heading in the wrong direction and we are at a critical point in the pandemic.
"We are looking at the data to see how to manage the spread of the virus ahead of a very challenging winter period."
He explained: "For the next six months, we have to take this collectively very seriously."
Chris Whitty also touched on the argument that people should be allowed to take their own level of risk when it comes to potentially contracting the virus.
He condemned this immediately, saying that if you take a risk, you are also exposing others to that risk.
Whitty added that if we do not change course, England will find itself 'in a very difficult situation'.
The CMO explained that we have 'turned a corner', but confirmed there is no scientific evidence that the virus has gotten weaker.
Although the steepest rise in cases is in people aged between 20-29, all age groups have seen increases.
Whitty said: "The seasons are against us," adding that the virus is more virulent than normal seasonal flu.
He added that although treatments have got better, it will not be enough to stop unnecessary deaths and we are in danger of the NHS being overwhelmed - something that we managed to stop from happening during the first wave.