The government’s scientific advisers are urging the Prime Minister to prepare for a second wave of coronavirus that has a lower daily death toll but which lasts for a longer period of time – making it more deadly overall, it has been claimed.
Now SAGE scientists including chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance are pushing for stricter lockdown rules that apply nationwide and argue that the whole country will have to be put under the strictest restrictions by mid-December.
The forecast being circulated through Whitehall predicts deaths will hit 500 a day and 25,000 people could be in hospital with the virus by the end of November, causing Britain’s Covid curve to look like a ‘lampshade’. It comes after the UK’s death toll passed 60,000 yesterday and the country recorded 357 more deaths.
A source told the Telegraph: ‘It’s going to be worse this time, more deaths. That is the projection that has been put in front of the Prime Minister, and he is now being put under a lot of pressure to lock down again.’ While another told the Sun: ‘The latest Sage numbers are utterly bleak.’
Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England, last night warned the rising death toll from Covid-19 was likely to ‘continue for some time’ because of the spike in cases. It can take infected patients several weeks to fall severely ill, meaning the consequences of Britain’s spiralling outbreak are only just starting to be seen.
But the number of deaths is still a far-cry away from the peak of the pandemic during the spring, when more than 9,400 patients died in the worst week. And to bring the figures into perspective, Covid-19 was only responsible for one in 16 total deaths in the UK in the most recent week, and flu and pneumonia killed twice as many people.
And despite warnings that the death toll will continue to soar, a raft of statistics have suggested Britain’s outbreak has already started to slow down thanks to tighter restrictions on freedoms nationally and the three-tier lockdown system in hotspots. It suggests fatalities could start to tail off in the coming weeks.
In other developments:
- Latest figures bring the UK’s total death rate throughout the pandemic to 43,365, however, new data shows that deaths where coronavirus was mentioned as a factor on the death certificate have reached 60,000
- Statistical agencies recently registered 59,927 deaths involving Covid, and since then, a further 1,189 people are known to have died from the virus, bringing the total number to 61,116
- Pubs and restaurants in areas of Scotland will be able to serve alcohol indoors again from next week as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon eases coronavirus curfew restrictions
- Chancellor Rishi Sunak said he shared the ‘frustrations’ of a new bloc of angry Northern Tory ‘Red Wall’ MPs as it emerged he could try to win their support with a string of major infrastructure projects
- A Harvard review of research on COVID-19 cases linked to flights and how infectious disease might spread on board ruled that the risk of catching the disease on a plane is very low
- The Welsh Government issued an updated list of goods that can be sold during the firebreak lockdown amid calls for a reversal of the ban on purchases of items deemed to be non-essential
- Emmanuel Macron could announce new nationwide lockdown as the President is set to address France
According to internal analysis provided by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), deaths will peak at a lower level than in the spring but could remain high for weeks or even months with a Christmas respite unlikely
Office for National Statistics figures showed 761 Brits fell victim to the disease in the week ending October 16, the most recent recording period. Not since June 19, when there were 849 deaths, have more people lost their lives to the disease in a single week. At that point, the country was still in a national lockdown
West Yorkshire may be next to move into Tier Three affecting 1.8million people. If it were to be plunged into Tier Three, it would follow neighbours South Yorkshire, Lancashire and Greater Manchester
Britain’s Covid-19 deaths rose by 55% in a week with 761 victims recorded in latest seven-day spell
The number of Britons dying from Covid-19 reached a four-month high last week after they rose by more than 50 per cent in seven days, official data today revealed.
Office for National Statistics figures showed 761 Britons fell victim to the disease in the week ending October 16, the most recent recording period. It was the deadliest week since the seven-day spell ending June 19, when there were 849 fatalities.
It is confirmation that the mid-September surge in infections felt throughout the country is finally starting to take its toll, with the figure being 55 per cent higher than the 474 people killed by Covid-19 in the week prior and more than double the 343 in the seven days to October 2.
For comparison, weekly deaths peaked at 9,495 at the height of Britain’s outbreak in the week ending April 17 and reached their lowest on September 4, when just 83 people succumbed to the disease.
Covid-19 patients take about three weeks to fall seriously ill, which explains why the rise in cases late last month only translated into a spike in deaths in the middle of October.
The ONS now estimates the virus has killed 59,927 people, although its data is 10 days out of date, meaning it is almost guaranteed to have surpassed the grim milestone of 60,000 already.
But to bring the worrying figures into perspective, Covid-19 was still only responsible for one in 16 total deaths in the UK in the most recent week, and flu and pneumonia killed twice as many people.
And data suggests Britain’s outbreak has also started to slow down in the second half of October thanks to tighter restrictions on freedoms nationally and the three-tiered lockdown system in hotspots, which suggests fatalities could start to tail off in the coming weeks.
But the ONS figures showed that while numbers of people dying in hospitals were below the average for the time of year, more deaths occurred than expected in private homes.
Sir David Spiegelhalter, a top statistician at the University of Cambridge, claimed the trend — which has seen 100 extra non-Covid deaths occur each day in private homes since the first wave began to tail off — was ‘showing no signs of decreasing’. He added: ‘Perhaps this is a long-term effect of the pandemic. If there is good end-of-life care, then this could be a positive change, but it is unclear if this is the case.’
Statistical agencies recently registered 59,927 deaths involving Covid, and since then, a further 1,189 people are known to have died from the virus, bringing the total number to 61,116.
Projections made by Sir Patrick appear to rule out the possibility of that the current nationwide restrictions – which dictate that people can only mix indoors and outdoors in groups of no more than six – will be eased up before Christmas.
Dr Doyle, medical director of Public Health England, said: ‘We continue to see the trend in deaths rising, and it is likely this will continue for some time. Each day we see more people testing positive and hospital admissions increasing.
‘Being seriously ill enough from the infection to need hospital admission can sadly lead to more Covid-related deaths. We can help to control this virus.’
Britain today recorded 367 more Covid-19 victims in the highest daily death toll since the end of May as a senior health official warned the number of fatalities will continue to rise ‘for some time’.
Despite the grisly death figures, Government statistics also offer hope the outbreak could finally be tailing off, with another 22,885 infections today — up just 7 per cent in a week. Coronavirus cases were doubling every week in September, which sparked fears the UK had sleep-walked into a second wave following a lull in transmission.
Infections are still a way off levels seen during the worst stage of the pandemic in March and April, when at least 100,000 Britons were catching the life-threatening illness every day. And top experts warn cases are still growing, even though data shows they are slowing down.
An internal memo from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust showed that non-covid treatments had once again been suspended to cope with the growing number of covid patients, reports The Telegraph.
The memo – seen by the publication – from the trust’s deputy chief medical officer, David Berridge, warned that they had seen a 78 per cent rise in admissions in one week and suggested it was very likely ‘Leeds will move into Tier 3.
The UK would not be alone in imposing a second national lockdown as many European countries appear to be on the cusp of the same decision as infections increase to record levels.
In Germany Angela Merkel is said to be drawing up plans for a so-called ‘lockdown light’ in which bars and restaurants would shut but most schools would stay open.
While in France French President Macron is due to make a televised address at 8pm tomorrow which is expected to see a national lockdown imposed or a host of local measures and curfews extended.
The French government is envisaging a month-long national lockdown to combat the coronavirus resurgence which could take effect from midnight on Thursday, France’s BFM TV reported today.
In Italy bars and restaurants were ordered to close by 6pm and with public gyms, cinemas and swimming pools closed to try to slow a second wave of coronavirus infections that is battering much of the country.
Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance (left) has reportedly urged Boris Johnson to impose a second lockdown
IS WEST YORKSHIRE NEXT TO BE HIT WITH TIER 3 RESTRICTIONS?
Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman said a Tier Three lockdown would be announced ‘quite soon’ in his borough of Kirklees
West Yorkshire looks set to become the next part of England to move into a Tier Three lockdown, after a local MP admitted the toughest restrictions were ‘inevitable’ because of spiralling cases and hospital admissions.
Speaking ahead of crunch talks with the Government this evening, Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman said the new rules – which would plunge another 1.8million people into the harshest bracket of lockdown – would be announced ‘quite soon’.
On his borough of Kirklees, the Labour MP told Yorkshire Live: ‘Covid is rampant. Rates are going up. Hospitals are under pressure locally and nationally. I think they are going to put us in the next tier quite soon. It’s inevitable.’
Local officials across the region held crunch talks with senior ministers yesterday to discuss the ‘next steps’ in tackling Covid-19 in West Yorkshire, with further behind-closed-doors meetings scheduled tonight and in the coming days.
Kirklees is among five local authority areas within West Yorkshire, along with Leeds, Calderdale, Bradford and Wakefield. All five boroughs are already under Tier Two, which means people are banned from meeting up with friends and family indoors.
But a Tier Three status would see all pubs and bars have to close unless they serve meals. Residents would also be banned from mixing with anyone they don’t live with indoors or in private gardens and beer gardens.
The developments came amid concerns that West Yorkshire will soon be moved into Tier 3.
But there was opposition from the Kirklees district where local leaders, including Conservative MPs Jason McCartney and Mark Eastwood, who said they ‘do not feel comfortable agreeing’ to Tier 3 ‘without any indication of how we get out of these restrictions and how long they will last’.
Nottingham city and surrounding boroughs are set to have the toughest controls imposed on Thursday, but the details of the lockdown expected to be outlined on Tuesday have been delayed.
Lilian Greenwood, the MP for Nottingham South, suggested the delay was due to ministers wanting to extend the restrictions to the whole of Nottinghamshire.
‘Public trust is being undermined by their woeful communications,’ the Labour MP said.
More than eight million people in England, predominantly in the North, will be under the most stringent Covid-19 restrictions by the end of the week.
Warrington entered Tier 3 on Tuesday, meaning pubs and bars in the Cheshire town must close unless they serve substantial meals.
Households are also banned from mixing indoors or in private gardens and beer gardens, while betting shops, adult gaming centres, casinos and soft play centres have been shut.
The North-South divide in the tier system has sparked concern among Tory MPs, with the newly-formed Northern Research Group writing to the Prime Minister to express their fears.
The group, led by former northern powerhouse minister Jake Berry, urged Boris Johnson to provide a ‘clear road map’ out of lockdown restrictions.
Mr Berry said: ‘Never has there been a more pertinent and urgent political and economic case to support people living in the North.
‘However, instead of moving forwards on our shared ambitions, the cost of Covid and the virus itself threatens to send the North into reverse.’
The northern seats were instrumental in Mr Johnson’s election victory as the so-called ‘Red Wall’ in former Labour heartlands crumbled.
With Liverpool City Region, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and South Yorkshire already in Tier 3, the latest changes will mean 8.2 million people in England living with major curbs on their freedoms.