Chris Whitty warns we could go back into lockdown in just five weeks as hospitals face 'scary numbers' in 3rd wave

Chris Whitty warns we could go back into lockdown in just five weeks as hospitals face 'scary numbers' in 3rd wave

07/16/2021

BRITAIN could face a new lockdown within five weeks as Covid cases surge during the third wave, Chris Whitty has warned.

The chief medical officer says coronavirus hospitalisations are doubling about every three weeks and could hit "quite scary numbers".


 

His stark warning comes days before July 19's Freedom Day and the final step in Boris Johnson's roadmap out of Covid curbs.

But top doc Prof Whitty said the country is "not out of the woods yet" as cases rocketed to the highest level in six months.

Speaking at a Science Museum webinar yesterday, Prof Whitty said: "I don't think we should underestimate the fact that we could get into trouble again surprisingly fast."

He added: "We are not by any means out of the woods yet on this, we are in much better shape due to the vaccine programme, and drugs and a variety of other things.

'SCARY'

"But this has got a long way to run in the UK, and it's got even further to run globally."

Boris Johnson has told Brits we must "learn to live with Covid" as he announced a bonfire of regulations from July 19.

Rules in England on social distancing, mandatory masks and orders to work from home will be swept away from Monday.

But Prof Whitty cautioned that if vaccines weren't "topping out" the virus the PM may have to "look again" at reimposing restrictions in in "five, six, seven eight weeks' time".

Another 63 deaths were reported in Britain yesterday, the highest number since March.

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Daily cases spiked to their highest numbers since January with 48,553 testing positive in 24 hours.

Test and Trace figures showed 194,005 people tested positive in England in the week to July 7, up 43 per cent on the previous week.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has warned cases could reach 100,000 a day over the summer.

Prof Whitty added: "We've still got over 2,000 people in hospital, and that number is increasing.

I don't think we should underestimate the fact that we could get into trouble again surprisingly fast

"If we double from 2,000 to 4,000, from 4,000 to 8,000, to 8,000 and so on, it doesn't take many doubling times till you're into very very large numbers indeed."

He added: "This epidemic is doubling. It's doubling in cases. It is also doubling in people going to hospital, and it's doubling in deaths."

Prof Whitty urged Brits to "take things incredibly slowly" after July 19 and not to be "mesmerised" by anti-vaxxers.

Britain's vaccination drive has slowed dramatically this month as the numbers accepting a first dose slumped to a record low.

CASES SURGE

The total number of people who've had at least one dose of the vaccine is now 46,097,464 – up by just 60,374 yesterday.

Meanwhile, Covid cases among men spiked during Euro 2020 compared to women, data has revealed.

Public Health England figures showed 10,267 more young men than women tested positive over the past fortnight despite cases remaining roughly equal during the pandemic.

It comes as a Covid “pingdemic” hit pubs, factories, hospitals and airports with staff isolations.

The NHS Test & Trace app has ordered a record 520,194 to stay home in just a week, a 46 per cent rise on the previous seven days.

On Monday, the PM begged Brits not to go crazy next week as restrictions are eased – and stressed July 19 should not be “treated as a great jubilee”. 

He urged the public to exercise “extreme caution” as the country unlocks fully.

Mr Johnson warned the pandemic is “not over” as he said masks will be advised in crowded and enclosed spaces even after legal controls end.

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