Britain reports highest deaths from COVID-19 since March as Johnson urges caution
Britain reported its highest number of deaths and people in hospital with coronavirus since March on Tuesday, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging caution despite a week of lower reported numbers of infection.
Britain reported 131 new deaths from COVID-19,
the highest daily total since March 17, though it came after just 14 deaths were reported on
Monday, suggesting the weekend might have
impacted when deaths were reported. The number of COVID-19 patients in British
hospitals has also steadily risen to 5,918, also
the highest since March, following a spike in
cases earlier this month.
The number of new infections has fallen each
day for the last seven days, though Johnson
stressed the pandemic was not over. “It is very, very important that we don’t allow ourselves to run away with premature conclusions about (lower case numbers),” Johnson told broadcasters, noting it would take a while for the lifting of restrictions in England to feed through to the data.
“People have got to remain very cautious and
that remains the approach of the government.”
Johnson has lifted restrictions in England and is betting he can get one of Europe’s largest
economies firing again because so many people
are now vaccinated, a decision which marks a
new chapter in the response to the novel
Imperial College epidemiologist Neil Ferguson
said the effective end of Britain’s pandemic
could be just months away as vaccines have so
dramatically reduced the risk of hospitalisation
“We’re not completely out of the woods but the equation has fundamentally changed” Ferguson, whose modelling of the virus’s likely spread at the outset of the pandemic in early 2020 alarmed governments across the world said.
“Im positive that by late September, October
time we will be looking back at most of the
pandemic.” ON THE WAY DOWN
Johnson lifted COVID-19 restrictions in England
on July 19. New daily cases in the current wave
peaked two days earlier at 54,674 and have
since fallen dramatically, to 23,511 new cases on
Tuesday. The closure of schools for summer, the end of the Euro 2020 soccer championships and warmer weather are among factors
epidemiologists say might have reduced social
mixing indoors and therefore cases, even as
England’s economy has fully reopened.
Case numbers have been falling for longer in
Scotland, where the recent peak in new
infections was on July 1, than in England
corresponding to an earlier elimination from the Euros. “Both of them seem to coincide in some ways with the end of activity in the Euro 2020 tournament,’ Rowland Kao, an epidemiologist at the University of Edinburgh, told reporters, adding that changes in testing patterns might mean that the sharpness of the drop is overstated in daily testing figures.
Cases may go up again, because we’re only
Just going to be starting to see the effect of the complete release of restrictions associated with July 19 in England. So there may still be rises yet to come. Britain has one of the highest official fatality rates from COVID-19 in the world, with 129,303 deaths, but vaccinations and lockdowns have greatly slowed the rate since March.
Scotland’s National Clinical Director Jason
Leitch said a gradual return to usual social
activity would help smooth the end of the current wave, but that the next few weeks would be unpredictable. “On the way down is always bumpier than the exponential rise on the way up, he said.