Covid pandemic end: Have we passed the peak?

Coronavirus: UK records drop in cases for sixth successive day

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The Covid pandemic has been a hardship for many for the past 17 months. Lockdown finally eased on July 19 with almost all legal limits being lifted at that time. A leading epidemiologist has revealed there may be “a need to slow the spread” of the virus at some point if hospital admissions surge. But he added it is likely cases will decline by late September.

A little over a week ago scientists in the UK warned cases could reach 100,000 or 200,000 a day.

The latest Office for National Statistics data reveals a total of 154,661 deaths have occurred in the UK where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

The highest number of deaths to occur on a single day was 1,483, on January 19.

The daily death toll peaked at 1,461 deaths on April 8, 2020.

Professor Neil Ferguson from Imperial College London and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said as many as 200,000 new cases could be reported a day.

The scientist told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show it was “almost certain” new cases would hit 100,000 a day, with hospital admissions reaching 1,000 a day in the wake of the end of legal limits.

He said maintaining that level could be described as a “success”.

There are now high levels of immunity across the UK, due to a combination of vaccines and people who have had the virus.

Currently, more than 46 million people have received a first dose of the vaccine, with 37m having been double-vaccinated so far.

This equates to 88.1 percent of the adult population having received their first dose and 70.5 percent having received both doses.

The number of daily confirmed cases rose sharply in June and early July – but it now appears to be falling again with 24,950 confirmed cases announced on Monday.

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Professor Neil Ferguson said it is still “too early to tell” what impact the lockdown easing on July 19 will have on the prevalence of Covid across the UK.

Professor Ferguson said continued “caution” is needed.

The scientist told BBC’s Today programme: “We won’t see for several more weeks what the effect of the unlocking is.

“We need to remain cautious, especially with the potential increase in contact rates again as the weather becomes less fine and schools return.”

The medical expert has warned the UK is not “out of the woods yet” despite Covid infections dropping.

He added: “The equation has fundamentally changed.

“The effect of vaccines is hugely reducing the risk of hospitalisations and death.

“And I’m positive that by late September or October time we will be looking back at most of the pandemic.

“We will have Covid with us, we will still have people dying from Covid, but we’ll have put the bulk of the pandemic behind us.

“Clearly the higher we can get vaccination coverage, the better – that will protect people and reduce transmission – but there is going to be remaining uncertainty until the autumn.”

The rise in cases has been driven by the Delta variant which spreads faster than previously the most common Kent variant.

NHS leaders say the next phase of their fight against Covid is “likely to be the hardest” given the scale of challenges anticipated in the coming nine months.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Chancellor, the Health Secretary, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the chief executive of NHS England, the NHS said: “Many trust chief executives are saying that the overall level of pressure they are now experiencing is, although very different in shape, similar to the pressure they saw in January of this year when the NHS was under the greatest pressure in a generation.”

The delays and pressure on the NHS is down to a backlog of care across medical provides along with record demand for urgent and emergency care.

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