COVID-19: Daily UK coronavirus cases highest since July as Professor Chris Whitty warns of ‘unusually harsh’ winter | UK News
England’s chief medical officer has warned people should expect an “unusually difficult” winter, as daily cases of the coronavirus in the UK hit their highest level since July.
Professor Chris Whitty told delegates at the annual conference of the Royal College of GPs in Liverpool that the NHS will face tough months as it battles COVID-19, flu, other viruses and winter problems usual such as trips and falls.
The UK on Thursday recorded 45,066 more coronavirus cases – an 11% increase from the 40,701 cases recorded the week before and the highest daily figure since July 20.
COVID updates live from UK and around the world
The increase appears to be fueled by cases among school-aged children and adolescents which are at their highest level since fall 2020, new data shows.
Professor Whitty said: ‘As for where COVID will go over the winter, well I think winter as a whole, I regret to say, is going to be exceptionally difficult for the NHS .
“That is, regardless of whether we have a relatively small but not insignificant amount of COVID, or whether we actually have another outbreak in the winter.”
He added that the risk of the service being completely overwhelmed was “much lower” than last year, but warned that “pretty serious pressure” that is “difficult to manage” was still possible if COVID cases are increasing.
“So the margin of error is quite small,” he said.
Cases among those aged 10 to 19 stood at 1,120.8 per 100,000 people in the seven days to Oct. 10, compared to 1,061.8 week-over-week, according to the figures.
The rate for children aged five to nine is 574.2, also up week-over-week from 484.2.
For both age groups, this is the highest weekly rate since this data was first collected in October 2020, according to the UK Health Security Agency.
Nonetheless, case rates are currently increasing in all age groups and parts of England.
The East Midlands have become a hotspot for the virus, recording England’s highest rate of 488.7 cases per 100,000 population, up from 450.0 week-over-week.
Yorkshire and the Humber has the second highest rate at 453.4, down from 409.0 and London has the lowest rate at 214.2, down from 204.6.
Professor Whitty said “zero COVID this winter is a completely impossible dream”, adding that the hope was to keep it at “relatively low levels”.
The expert said that when other winter viruses and health issues are added to the mix, along with people seeking care who have been delayed during the pandemic, the NHS faces “an extraordinarily large order”.
Regarding the flu, he said there had been a lot of debate about whether there could be low levels because people still don’t mix together as much, or whether a lack of immunity natural could lead to “a really serious peak”, with the possibility of the flu shot. is not very well suited to the strain affecting the UK.
He added: “I wish I could claim the sunny highlands and it will be fantastic by Christmas, but unfortunately I’m afraid it won’t.”
Speaking about the government’s handling of the pandemic, he said there were “some pretty important things” that they got it wrong at first.
He comes after a minister refused to apologize 11 times for the government’s handling of the pandemic, following the release of a highly critical report.
The report, written by MPs from the Science and Technology Committee and the Health and Social Services Committee, said the UK’s pandemic preparedness was far too focused on the flu, while ministers waited too long to push through lockdown measures in early 2020.
At the start of the pandemic, when COVID-19 emerged in China, MPs said UK policy was to erroneously take a ‘gradual and incremental approach’ to interventions such as social distancing, isolation and lockdowns .
But on the issue of lessons learned, Professor Whitty said the last great pandemic was HIV and “if you try to deal with HIV like you deal with COVID, it will clearly be disastrous and vice versa”.
“So I think what we should never do is assume that just because we’ve learned a lot of lessons from one pandemic, they will necessarily translate into the next,” he said.
“And the last big outbreak I faced was Ebola, which was primarily a tactile disease, again a whole different set of ways to deal with it.”
He continued, “There are certainly some pretty important things we got wrong about when COVID started, assuming it would be like some previous infections, and it turned out not to be, and it’s inevitable.”