Britain’s third wave of Covid will last all summer and into fall with daily infections reaching 100,000 in a matter of weeks, a SAGE adviser has warned.
Professor John Edmunds, a member of the SAGE board that advises the government, said the summer wave would likely be “long and prolonged” after restrictions were eased on Monday.
His comments come as the government prepares to lift all legal restrictions on Covid on ‘Freedom Day’ in just two days, with the removal of social distancing measures, the resumption of large-scale events and the removal of advice about working from home.
However, concern about the spread of the Delta variant is growing, with Britain yesterday recording 51,870 cases – the highest number of daily infections since January 15.
Professor Edmunds, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, has warned that the spread is unlikely to stop as the measures are lifted.
He told BBC Radio 4: “My hunch is that we are looking at a high incidence level for an extended period throughout the summer and probably much of the fall.
“We started to relax the restrictions before everyone was vaccinated.
“This will lead to infections in unvaccinated people – mainly younger people in this case. It is inevitable that this will happen.
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Professor Edmunds has warned that cases could reach 100,000 a day within a few weeks, echoing Health Secretary Sajid Javid’s prediction in the House of Commons a fortnight ago.
He added, “We’re down to around 50,000 a day now. The epidemic has doubled roughly every two weeks and so if we leave it as it is for a few more weeks you can expect it to reach 100,000 cases per day. “
Ministers have tempered their ‘Freedom Day’ promises as cases continue to rise, with Boris Johnson warning last week that the pandemic was ‘not over’.
The Prime Minister said lifting the restrictions was no excuse for Britons to ‘have a great jubilee’ – but stressed that it was time for us to ‘learn to live with the virus’.
Earlier this week, authorities unveiled new guidelines, including recommending face masks in crowded areas such as public transport or shops, while also encouraging reception venues to apply for passports for the Covid vaccine. at the entrance.
Meanwhile, the UK’s vaccination schedule has slowed down over the past week, raising concerns that young people are not showing up to get their shots.
A total of 61,681 Britons received their first dose of the jab on Thursday – but that is well below the 152,525 shots distributed a fortnight earlier on July 1.
However, the second doses are continuing at a rapid pace with 201,893 administered on Thursday. More than 35 million Britons are now double-bitten.
Authorities have repeatedly stressed the importance of vaccination, even in younger patients who are not as high risk.
It comes as the government prepares for a large-scale vaccination campaign in the fall to tackle the increase in influenza cases as well as an expected spike in Covid infections.
More than 35 million Britons will be offered a flu shot from September as part of a significant expansion of the program.
Jabs will be available from September for children aged two and three, on August 31, all primary school children, those aged 50 and over, pregnant women, unpaid caregivers and staff. front-line adult health and social care.
Experts have warned the UK has low levels of flu immunity due to lockdown and social distancing measures.
A grim report from the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) this week warned of a ‘triple whammy’ from Covid, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) – which people have typically caught in the two years old.
Elsewhere, the R rate – the infection rate – has hit 1.6 in parts of England, it emerged yesterday.
One in 95 people in England had the virus in the week leading up to July 10, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This is an increase from one in 160 reported the previous week.
Ministers have also been criticized for causing a ‘pingemia’ as it was revealed yesterday that more than half a million Britons have been asked to self-isolate by the NHS app.
Furious employers have demanded the government change the app due to a severe staff shortage – although an increase in the number of cases means changes may not be made until next month.