Britain today recorded 2,621 more coronavirus cases as the outbreak continues to march on amid mounting fears of a second wave.
Government statistics show some 2,998 infections are now being recorded each day, on average. For comparison, more than 3,300 cases were confirmed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Top experts insist the UK doesn’t yet need to panic over the rising numbers because they are only a fraction of the 100,000-plus that occurred each day during the darkest period of the crisis. Other scientists, however, say action is needed to prevent Britain being hit by another wave of the disease.
Health officials also announced another nine laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 deaths, taking the official number of victims who have succumbed to the illness within a month of testing positive to 41,637.
Government figures show deaths have yet to spike in line with soaring cases, which have doubled in the space of a fortnight — from a rolling seven-day average of 1,323 on August 31. It can take patients several weeks to succumb to the infection, meaning deaths may not start to trickle through for at least another week.
Hospital admissions, another way of measuring the pandemic, have also started to increase in the past week, with 136 coronavirus patients admitted for care on September 9 in England alone — the most up-to-date figure. For comparison, it had dropped to as low as 25 at the end of August.
UK’S COVID RESPONSE IS BEING LED BY A ‘DAD’S ARMY’ WITH LITTLE OR NO EXPERIENCE, CLAIM TWO OXFORD EXPERTS
Britain’s coronavirus response is being led by a ‘Dad’s Army’ of well-paid people with no experience, two leading scientists have said as they called on Number 10 to stop panicking and scrap the controversial ‘rule of six’.
Professors Carl Heneghan and Tom Jefferson, from Oxford University, accused Boris Johnson of making a series of ‘catastrophic’ errors since returning to work in April, following his own battle with the killer virus.
They said the country’s pandemic response has suffered because it has been led by Government officials inexperienced in controlling public health.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, they pointed out, has had the job for only two years; chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty was appointed in 2019; Boris Johnson was elected last year; and the Joint Biosecurity Centre – created to fight the Covid-19 pandemic – is run by a spy.
Professor Heneghan and Professor Jefferson warned the government’s new move to limit gatherings – which came into force today – was ‘disturbing’ and had ‘no scientific evidence to back it up’. They argued that it may instead end up having ‘major consequences’.
And in urging ministers to carry on with life because containing the spread of Covid-19 is ‘unrealistic’, they warned the ‘roll of the dice’ to crack down on large gatherings may tip the public over the edge and said it should be ‘binned’.
Gatherings of more than six people have been made illegal in a bid to stem a surge in coronavirus cases, which experts have warned is on the verge of spiralling out of control. Under-12s are exempt from the rules in Wales and Scotland.
Deaths being announced each day by the Department of Health have tumbled since the peak of Britain’s Covid-19 crisis, with more than 1,000 patients killed on some days in April.
And although the numbers of coronavirus cases is rising again there is no evidence of this leading to more people ending up dying, as had been feared.
Experts suggest that cases are now being picked up more often in younger people, who almost never die of the disease, and that hospitals are now better at treating Covid-19 than they were at the start of the pandemic.
The most up-to-date government coronavirus death toll — released this afternoon — stood at 41,637. It takes into account victims who have died within 28 days of testing positive.
Ministers last month scrapped the original fatality count because of concerns it was inaccurate due to it not having a time cut-off, meaning no-one could ever technically recover in England.
More than 5,000 deaths were knocked off the original toll. The rolling average number of daily coronavirus deaths dropped drastically — from around 60 to fewer than ten.
The deaths data does not represent how many Covid-19 patients died within the last 24 hours. It is only how many fatalities have been reported and registered with the authorities.
And the figure does not always match updates provided by the home nations. Department of Health officials work off a different time cut-off, meaning daily updates from Scotland and Northern Ireland are out of sync.
The toll announced by NHS England every day, which only takes into account fatalities in hospitals, doesn’t match up with the DH figures because they work off a different recording system.
For instance, some deaths announced by NHS England bosses will have already been counted by the Department of Health, which records fatalities ‘as soon as they are available’.
It comes as ministers today urged people to snitch on their neighbours if they are flouting the new ‘Rule of Six’ coronavirus policy as the country teeters on the brink of another disastrous lockdown.
Policing minister Kit Malthouse said rule-breakers should be flagged to the authorities, as the draconian measures opened up deep splits between ministers and experts.
The drastic intervention came as Home Secretary Priti Patel warned that people face criminal records as well as thousands of pounds in fines if they refuse to abide by the law.
Meanwhile, the government’s response to the spike in infections has been slammed by top scientists as panicky and not based on evidence, with jibes that those in charge are a ‘Dad’s Army’ with no experience.
A graph showing the proportional change in the numbers of new cases of Covid-19 in Britain suggest they are now rising at a similar rate to what was seen in April, a fortnight or so after lockdown started
But other experts have delivered chilling warnings that the outbreak is on the verge of spiralling out of control, after the daily case rate topped 3,000 for the first time in months.
Boris Johnson sent shockwaves through nation last week when he announced the restrictions, the first widespread tightening of lockdown since March.
The rules are now in force in England after a sunny weekend when many people enjoyed a final meet up before the misery descended.
Gatherings of more than six people have been made illegal in a bid to stem a surge in coronavirus cases. It has sparked fury that many larger households can no longer meet up with anyone else.
However, the rules in England are tougher than in Wales and Scotland, where under-12s are being exempted from the crackdown.
Britons are now waiting with bated breath to see whether the action can bring infections back down, with around 3,000 new cases being recorded each day, on average.
For comparison, just 546 new coronavirus infections were recorded during the start of July, when cases dropped to a five-month low. They have continued to creep up ever since.
France and Spain in particular have seen huge rises, but Belgium – which imposed a similar crackdown – appears to have the situation more under control.
There are fears that failure will mean worse curbs in the run-up to Christmas, with a 10pm curfew for pubs being considered amid alarm that young people are ‘forgetting’ Covid regulations.