BRITS could face a second Covid peak at Christmas if a national lockdown is not implemented now, a top scientist has warned.
Government adviser Professor John Edmunds said the three tier lockdown system implemented by the government will only slow the spread of the virus and will not shrink it.
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Professor John Edmunds said the three tier lockdown system implemented by the government will only slow the spread of the virus[/caption]
His comments come as Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night moved Manchester to Tier 3 restrictions.
South Yorkshire is also expected to be moved into Tier 3 later this week, as cases continue to rise.
Prof Edmunds said that the health service in the north will already be under strain in the next few weeks due to current conditions.
“Even if we stopped things now, cases and hospitalisations would continue to go up for the next 10 days [or] two weeks because they’re already baked into the system.
“They’ve already been infected but it will take some time to be hospitalised – and the same goes for deaths.
“We’ll see peaks around Christmas and the New Year of very severe numbers of cases throughout the UK. It’s slower and lower in the South West and South East than in the more urban centres.”
He said looking where we are today, “there is no way” the UK will come out of winter without deaths in the tens of thousands.
Prof Edmunds added that if we don’t take any additional measures then the UK will see peaks in the North West in the next six weeks.
“That’s the sort of thing we’re looking at – very large numbers of cases, hundreds of deaths a day.
“I don’t think it’s going to reach the height of the epidemic in March and April – not quite – but in many parts it may already be quite similar”.
Prof Edmunds also said that a Covid vaccine is “an almost certainty” in the not too distant future and that a successful jab is likely “just around the corner”.
Prof Edmunds said the UK could face another peak if we don’t lock down[/caption]
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) member said the UK had played a “clever game” by investing in several vaccines.
Prof Edmunds, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told a Common’s committee on Covid he expected a jab to be available in “months”.
He said: “It is an almost certainty that we will have vaccines that will help us to manage this epidemic in the not too distant future.
“I think it’s very important to understand that actually vaccines are not that far away potentially” now.”
‘Array of vaccines’
It comes as it was this afternoon announced that a further 94 people have died from the coronavirus in hospitals across England.
As cases climb across the country, Prof Edmunds added that the virus is “something we are going to have to live with”.
Giving evidence to the Science and Technology and Health and Social Care committees he said there was “very little chance” that the virus would be eradicated.
“I think there’s so much investment in vaccines, of very different types, there’s a huge array of different vaccines that are being developed.”
Just yesterday it was confirmed that human volunteers would be given small doses of the virus in order to speed up the vaccine hunt.
A small number of young healthy volunteers will be recruited to take part in the trial at the start of 2021.
Aside from this, experts at Oxford are still working towards a vaccine after the trial was halted last month.
The head of the vaccine team had however warned that a vaccine might not be ready until 2021.
Professor Andrew Pollard previously said the UK has no hope of returning to normality until mass immunisation is well underway, meaning restrictions will be needed until next summer.
The Oxford Vaccine Group is being run by Oxford University and is currently working on developing a vaccine with drug company Astrazeneca.
It is the most advanced vaccine in the UK and despite the comments from Prof Pollard, Prof Edmund said that it is possible that we could see a vaccine by the end of winter.
“I think these things are moving at pace and of course it’s not just one vaccine being developed but many, many vaccines are being developed across the world.
“The UK has played a clever game and invested in very many of these and different technologies – I think that’s the right thing to do.
“So I think we here in the UK, we will be in a reasonable position in months.”
Prof Edmunds said that it was unlikely that everyone will be vaccinated, but it could start with high-risk groups.
He added: “I don’t think we are going to be vaccinating everybody, but to start maybe the highest risk people, healthcare workers and so on.”
Leaked documents last week revealed that officials are hopeful that two coronavirus vaccine jabs will prove successful before the end of the year.
Plans are already well under way to ensure they can be delivered to those who need them most.
The first mass vaccination centres are planned for sites in major cities including Leeds, Hull and London.
They will be supported by hundreds of mobile vaccination units dotted nationwide, while roving teams will visit care homes and vulnerable Brits.
GPs and pharmacists will also be asked to dole out the jab to millions of people – with roll out set to take between three to six months.
One of the vaccine frontrunners includes the treatment developed by Oxford University, with millions of doses already stockpiled.