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Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance gave a live TV address about the spread of the virus – and what could happen over the next few months.
The key points:
The virus is now increasing across the majority of the country. “So this is not someone else’s problem, this is all of our problem,” said Prof Whitty
It’s a “six-month problem that we have to deal with collectively,” said Prof Whitty. He said the seasons are against us with autumn and winter benefiting viruses like Covid
The virus is not milder now than in April. Prof Whitty said some people have been saying this – but there’s no evidence for it
The key stats:
If the infection continues at its current rate, without any action being taken, then by mid-October there could be 50,000 cases a day. That would lead to more than 200 deaths a day by mid-November
Around 70,000 people in the UK are estimated to currently have the disease – and about 6,000 per day are catching it. That’s an estimate based on a study from the Office for National Statistics
Fewer than 8% of people have got antibodies to the virus, which suggest they’ve had it already
What about lockdown measures?
Prof Whitty acknowledged it’s a “difficult balance” for ministers. If we do too little in terms of lockdown rules, the virus will go out of control, but if we go too far the other way we can damage the economy which will have its own long-term health effects, he said
He said one key way to control the virus is to “break unnecessary links between households because that is the way this virus is transmitted”. But he said we have to do it “in the least damaging way”, adding: “If we don’t do enough the virus will take off, and that is the path we are clearly on, and if we don’t change course, then we’re going to find ourselves in a very difficult problem.”
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Covid-19: UK faces 50,000 cases a day by October without action – Vallance. Get the full story 👉
BBC News Live | Coronavirus Press Conference | UK Government Press Briefing | BBC
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