Chief scientist’s 50,000 Covid cases a day warning proves accurate

Sir Patrick Vallance during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (PA Wire)
16:18pm, Fri 30 Oct 2020
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A warning that the UK could see 50,000 Covid-19 cases a day by mid-October appears to have been proven accurate, the latest data shows.

The Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance announced his stark projection at a press conference in September, alongside chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, adding that there could be 200-plus daily deaths in November.

His numbers had been criticised by other scientists as “not scientifically accurate” and implausible”.

But the Office for National Statistics (ONS) infection survey, published on Friday, found coronavirus cases “continued to rise steeply”, with an average of 51,900 new cases per day of Covid-19 in private homes between October 17 and 23.

The PA news agency understands that Government scientists are now confident that there are more than 50,000 infections a day.

It comes after the latest Government figures showed the UK seven-day average number of reported deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test was 230 a day between October 23 to 29.

This is a a few weeks earlier than Sir Patrick’s warning of 200 deaths a day by the middle of November.

Sir Patrick said in September that it was “not a prediction” but the current doubling of cases every seven days could lead to a dramatic rise in hospitalisations and deaths.

HEALTH Coronavirus (PA Graphics)

In mid-September, there were around 3,000 new cases recorded everyday in the UK.

Speaking at a press briefing on September 21 Sir Patrick said: “At the moment we think the epidemic is doubling roughly every seven days.

“If, and that’s quite a big if, but 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 say, to 200-plus deaths per day.

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

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