UK 'facing 50,000 coronavirus cases a day by mid-October' if infection rate not slowed, warns Chief Scientific Officer

21 September 2020, 11:47 | Updated: 21 September 2020, 12:02

Polly Foreman

By Polly Foreman

Patrick Vallance today gave a possible forecast of where we could be by 13 October if the current infection rate continues.

Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance has warned that the UK could see almost 50,000 coronavirus cases a day by mid-October.

Read more: Matt Hancock says second lockdown 'would be different to first' as he hints at new restrictions

Sir Patrick Vallance has said we could potentially see 50,000 cases a day by mid-October
Sir Patrick Vallance has said we could potentially see 50,000 cases a day by mid-October. Picture: PA

Speaking alongside Chief Medical Advisor Chris Whitty in a televised address to the nation today (21 September), he said that - if the current infection rate is not curbed - we could see 50,000 cases a day by October 13.

Presenting a graph, he said that cases are doubling every seven days in the UK, and added: "if that continues unabated...there would be something like 50,000 cases per day by the middle of October."

The graph is not a prediction, but a potential scenario
The graph is not a prediction, but a potential scenario. Picture: UK government

Sir Patrick emphasised that the date is "not a prediction" but instead "showing how quickly this can move" if the virus is not brought under control.

He warned that there are around 6,000 new infections per day, which is translating to a rise in hospital admissions. He added: "We are in a situation where numbers are clearly increasing".

Read more: Mum causes outrage for lying about being a key worker to get COVID-19 test

Professor Whitty said that "This is not someone else's problem, this is all of our problem", as he urged the public to take collective action to help slow the spread.

Sir Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty addressed the nation this morning
Sir Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty addressed the nation this morning. Picture: PA

He added: "You cannot in an epidemic just take your own risk, unfortunately you’re taking a risk on behalf of everybody else. It’s important that we see this as something we have to do collectively."

Their warning comes after Matt Hancock said that a potential lockdown would be 'different to first' and hinted at new restrictions.

Speaking on This Morning earlier today, he said: "if we do have to take action, it will be different to last time".

The Health Secretary went on to explain that they have learnt a huge amount about the virus and how to "tackle" it.

He said: "The main thing we've learnt is that where people catch the disease tends to be in social settings, people coming round to your house, or you going out and socialising essentially.

"We've seen relatively few cases caught through schools, and people at work – schools have got huge procedures in place to keep schools safe, and the return to school has gone really well."

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