UK science advisers set to warn public on COVID-19 rates

Commuters walk across the London Bridge in London on Sept 21 2020

Britain could hit 50000 Covid cases per day by mid Oct if rise continues unabated, senior adviser says

Here are some of the key points from their 20-minute presentation from Downing Street on Monday.

LONDON (AP) - Britain's top medical and scientific advisers will tell the public on Monday that COVID-19 infection rates are going in the "wrong direction" amid expectations the government is preparing to announce new measures to control the pandemic.

Sir Patrick Vallance said that the figure, a worse case scenario if the rate of the disease's spread is not brought down, would lead to more than 200 deaths a day a month later.

That would lead to 200+ deaths a day by the middle of November. The answer is no.

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.

Johnson last week said Britain was already seeing a second wave of Covid-19 - in line with parts of Europe - and the government introduced new restrictions for millions across northwest, northern and central England.

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Ministers agree that there should not be a full national lockdown, but there are tensions around the cabinet table over precisely which, more limited measures, to take.

But it is highly likely we will face tougher restrictions and curbs on our social lives.

Prof Whitty suggested that science would eventually "ride to our rescue" but "in this period of the next six months, I think we have to realise that we have to take this collectively, very seriously".

Whitty said: "The seasons are against us", adding that the virus is more virulent than normal seasonal flu.

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.

Sir Patrick said in Spain and France the virus had "started with younger people in their 20s and spread gradually to older ages as well".

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The Nightingale hospitals were set up to expand the number of intensive care beds and mechanical ventilators available to be used to treat the sickest patients.

"As the hospitalisations have increased... very sadly, but not unexpectedly, deaths are also increasing".

"Across Europe, there is a hard balance that has to be met by governments where on one hand they have to try to keep economies afloat and on the other hand try to protect people's wellbeing and their health", said Butler.

"The third one, and in many ways the most hard, is that we have to break unnecessary links between households because that is the way in which this virus is transmitted", he said.

Mr Hancock was unable to say whether England's pubs would be allowed to open this weekend and said his answer was "not a no, and it's not a yes".

Sir Patrick said the size of the United Kingdom population with antibodies was still low, making the "vast majority" of people "susceptible" to Covid-19. However, even if the numbers were higher, there is no "absolute protection" against the disease because antibodies disappear over time.

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"If this runs out of control now, then we'll have to take heavier measures in the future".

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