The government's top scientists have warned that the UK could be facing as many as 50,000 coronavirus cases in as little as 4 weeks if the virus is not soon stopped.
Boris Johnson will once again address the UK in an announcement on the 22nd of September which could see Britain following in Wales' footsteps by introducing harsh restrictions on socialising as well as curfews for licensed premises that could last up to six months.
Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance announced that England is facing its second wave and that cases are doubling every week. Vallance presented a graph illustrating that if the virus continues to spread and double at its current rate then the UK could face up to 49,000 new cases by October 13th.
Vallance continued to state that the UK was following in the same trend of rising deaths as France and Spain and that by mid-November the huge amount of cases could result in up to 200 deaths a day.
The scientist also reiterated that the graph was not a prediction but rather a warning of how fast the virus could spread if it continued to run out of control. Despite this, the spreading of the virus is showing no discrimination in age groups and is not just down to more testing as many claim.
Instead, evidence shows that only 8% of UK residents have the antibodies necessary to fight off coronavirus leaving much of the population at the mercy of COVID-19.
England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty addressed the public by dropping hints that social restrictions would be the first to be put in place. He stated:
We have to break unnecessary links between households, because that is the way in which this virus is transmitted. This means reducing social contacts, whether they are at work… and also in social environments. We have to try and do this in the least damaging way, but we all know we cannot do this without some significant downsides - and this is a balance of risk.
He continued to state that if the UK does not do all it can to slow the spread then they will once again be in a difficult position:
If we don’t do enough, the virus will take off and at the moment that is the path we’re clearly on. If we do not change course, we’re going to find ourselves in a very difficult problem.
Whitty went on to warn that winter is on the way which means that the 'seasons are against us' and that 'we should see this as a six-month problem that we have to deal with collectively'.
However, Whitty admitted that more restrictions and a potential lockdown will no doubt have a huge effect on the economy, mental health and also have big social implications. The Chief Medical Officer claims:
Ministers making decisions, and all of society, have to walk this very difficult balance. If we do too little, this virus will go out of control and we will get significant numbers of increased direct and indirect deaths. But if we go too far the other way, then we can cause damage to the economy which could feed through to unemployment, poverty and deprivation, all of which have long-term health effects.
Whitty and Vallance warned that although all age groups are facing an increase in coronavirus cases, many of the victims are within the ages of 20-29.
Sir Patrick announced that 'we are in a situation where numbers are clearly increasing' and the UK is now seeing around 6,000 new cases a day, causing hospitals to once again begin to fill.
Professor Whitty also commented that there is no evidence that the virus is any less deadly than it was back in April and without intervention, the number of deaths could once again see a rapid increase. He stated:
We have in a bad sense literally turned a corner - although only relatively recently.
Vallance and Whitty are soon due to publish the latest data on the pandemic in a bid to urge people to stick to the rules. The Chief Medical Officer was due to state:
The trend in the UK is heading in the wrong direction and we are at a critical point in the pandemic. We are looking at the data to see how to manage the spread of the virus ahead of a very challenging winter period.
Boris Johnson is expected to address the public on the issue as early as the 22nd to announce tougher restrictions to be imposed across England.
Johnson has recently faced criticism from Tory who warned that the 'the British people are not used to being treated like children.' However, if residents do not follow the rules set in place then it could compromise the safety of themselves as well as the others around them and could very well be fatal.