UK facing 50,000 new COVID-19 cases a day if infections aren’t curbed, government scientists warn

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The UK’s top government scientists warn the country will have nearly 50,000 new coronavirus cases a day by mid-October if the current infection rate does not drop.

Deaths will also rise to 200 deaths by mid-November if the current trend continues unabated, England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and the UK’s Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said during a nationally televised press conference on Monday morning.

On Sunday the UK recorded 3,899 new COVID-19 cases and a further 18 deaths.

“At the moment, we think the epidemic is doubling roughly every seven days,” Sir Patrick said at the briefing held at Downing Street.

“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, to 200-plus deaths per day.

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“The challenge, therefore, is to make sure the doubling time does not stay at seven days.”

He said speed and action was required to avoid exponential growth of the virus

Professor Whitty said there were significant rates of transmission throughout the UK and the coming colder weather would help the virus.

“We should see this as a six-month problem that we have to deal with collectively,” he said.

“It’s not indefinite and … science will in due course 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.”

The official UK death toll from COVID-19 stands at 41,777 people, while total confirmed cases are edging towards 400,000.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce a new raft of lockdown measures to curb the spread of the virus.

More to come.

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