UK Covid death toll passes 60,000 – calls for circuit breaker as deadlier second wave forecast

Health and Education

The UK has passed a grim Covid-19 milestone with 60,000 deaths passed on Tuesday, according to analysis of official data.

The Covid-19 death toll rose by 367 people according to the latest figures announced today by the department of health, marking the highest daily toll since May 27, and bringing the average per-day death count to past 200.

That is weeks earlier than the time frame outlined by the government’s chief scientific adviser who last month warned the UK was set for 50,000 new Covid cases each day by mid-October and 200 deaths per day by mid-November.

The UK death toll has now reached 61,468 according to a Guardian report which adds that more than 9,000 people are in hospital with the virus.

Calls for a ‘circuit breaking’ national lockdown are intensifying as the country braces itself for the full impact of the second wave of the virus.

‘It’s going to be worse this time’

A “well-placed source” quoted by the Telegraph said: “It’s going to be worse this time, more deaths.

“That is the projection that has been put in front of the prime minister, and he is now being put under a lot of pressure to lock down again.”

The forecast is based on analysis of a projected second wave – provided by Sage (the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) – and shows deaths peaking at a lower level than during the spring but to plateau at that level for a longer time, “weeks or even months.”

The death toll is expected to reach 500 per-day within weeks, according to health officials, and the medical director of Public Health England, Dr Yvonne Doyle said: “We continue to see the trend in deaths rising, and it is likely this will continue for some time. Each day we see more people testing positive and hospital admissions increasing.

“Being seriously ill enough from the infection to need hospital admission can sadly lead to more Covid-related deaths.”

Boris Johnson has been urged to “take more drastic action” by Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser and its other consultants. Sage called for a circuit-breaker time-limited lockdown on September 21 but this was ignored by Johnson’s administration. Labour leader Keir Starmer has also called for a circuit breaker to try and halt the spread of the virus in England.

‘Appalling lack of plan to suppress virus’

“There’s no question that the government are wholeheartedly failing to not only manage the spread of this virus, but to suppress it. And that’s two distinctive things,” said Dr Zubaida Haque, a member of the Independent Sage group of experts.

“They are not managing to contain the virus because they are not taking a cross-national circuit breaker approach as Sage suggested in September and Independent Sage also suggested.”

Haque said the government has ignored “every scientific advisory group” and called the “ad hoc” tier-by-tier approach “wholeheartedly inadequate”.

“What is appalling is there has been no sign of a plan to suppress this virus,” added Haque.

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