COVID: Large wave of infections to hit the UK this autumn

Experts fear that a new wave of COVID cases will take hold of the UK in the next month.

COVID wave in UK
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COVID wave in UK

The UK is well past the peak of the third wave that hit this summer, but the worst is not over yet. Scientists fear that another large wave is approaching and could take shape this September as students and workers find their way back to schools and offices respectively.

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Incoming wave

Since the drop in cases in mid-July, cases have been progressively increasing over the past weeks but Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, said that the current situation isn’t as bad as it could’ve been while going into the next wave. He said on the Today programme on Radio 4:

Numbers have basically plateaued at this time and are really quite high, about 30,000 cases-a-day.
That's a slightly sobering situation coming into September because our contact rates are at half the levels and we will be opening schools going back into offices.
So we have the potential for quite a large wave going into September/October.

He believes that while there is a possibility that the UK could see over 100,000 daily cases this fall, the burden on hospitals will not be as heavy as it was in earlier waves. According to Ferguson the new wave could lead to 1,000 hospitalisations a day, which is still significantly lower than the record 4,600 that was recorded on 12 January, during the height of the pandemic. He also added that the number of deaths were unlikely to return back to the same levels it was before the vaccination programme.

Vaccination efforts

Meanwhile the government has been amplifying vaccination efforts across the country. They’ve planned to start jabbing 16 and 17-year-olds from 23 August, and they’re hoping to introduce booster jabs in September.

All in all, 77% of the adult population have already been fully inoculated in the UK and Ferguson says that feat in itself is decreasing transmission. He added:

Vaccination is having downward pressure on transmission.
The end of the UK's third COVID wave is now in sight The end of the UK's third COVID wave is now in sight