Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under growing pressure from MPs and scientists are warning that a second lockdown must happen as second wave will kill more people.
Scientists are saying we need a national lockdown and have been urging this for weeks, but Johnson has refused to do this for the sake of the economy, thus far.
Downing Street does not deny the grim projections by government scientists that the death toll will soar throughout the winter, which will see more deaths that what was seen in spring.
The Telegraph reported that total death from the virus now tops 61,000, as the Scientific Group for Emergencies (SAGE) projections has now led to intense lobbying from experts.
The Prime Minister’s very own chief scientific advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance has and continues to call for more drastic action to be taken to save tens of thousands of lives.
A government spokeswoman said on Wednesday, that Ministers are receiving advice “from a wide range of scientific and medical experts,” and added that the latest figures are “concerning.”
The UK’s daily coronavirus death toll has soared by more than half in just a week, with 367 deaths reported across the UK on Tuesday, which was the highest level for five months.
On Wednesday, the UK recorded 24,701 new cases, up from Tuesday where, 22,885 people had tested positive.
310 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19, down from 367 deaths reported on Tuesday.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England, warned that the toll is expected to climb further.
She 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.
“We can help to control this virus. We know that by washing our hands regularly, wearing a face covering and socially distancing we can save lives by slowing the spread of the virus.”
The governments scientific advisors SAGE have warned Downing Street that by December, virus rates will surpass the levels seen in the North across the whole of England.
Professor Sir Mark Walport, who is the government’s former chief scientific adviser has warned around 25,000 people could be in hospital with the virus by the end of November, if infections continue to rise.
Professor Walport’s grim warning comes as there are fears the second wave could be more deadly than what happened in spring.
Layla McCay, director at the NHS Confederation, said action was urgently needed to curb the rise in deaths and reduce pressure on the already stretched health service.
She warned, “These figures clearly illustrate how grave the situation has already become, and how difficult the coming weeks and months are likely to be.
“Our members tell us that in many cases their capacity is severely stretched. This is only likely to deteriorate over time, as we see more Covid-19 patients needing hospital treatment, alongside those with the usual winter illnesses.
“Furthermore, if staff need to be redeployed to Covid-19 services, it will be even more difficult to restore and maintain routine services.”
Nightingale hospitals in northern England were put on standby earlier this month as a result of rising coronavirus cases.
The NHS has now confirmed the Nightingale hospital in Manchester will start receiving patients who do not have COVID-19 from today.
A spokesperson for the NHS in the North West said, “The NHS Nightingale Hospital North West will accept patients from today to provide care for those who do not have Covid-19, but do need further support before they are able to go home, such as therapy and social care assessments.”
Previously Johnson has said that he wants families to be able to gather for Christmas, but scientists have said this is “wishful thinking in the extreme.”
Professor John Edmunds, a member of sage, said last week, “The only way that we can have a relatively safe and normal Christmas is if we take radical action now to reduce incidence, at the very least in high incidence areas, and keep the incidence low across the country by implementing a package of measures to reduce social contacts.
“The notion that we can carry on as we are and have a Christmas that we can celebrate normally with friends and family is wishful thinking in the extreme.”
The government’s scientific adviser Jeremy Farrar warned the current regional tiered measures will not be effective.
He said, “The current tiered restrictions will not bring the transmission rates down sufficiently or prevent the continued spread of the virus.
“A three-week period of nationally increased restrictions, with the right levels of financial support, will allow us to reset before winter, stop transmission spiralling, protect and prepare health services, give time to get the test-trace-isolate systems fully functional, and save lives.”
Farrar, who is director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, warned that putting it off will worsen and lengthen the ongoing crisis which is spiralling out of control.
According to a paper drawn up by leading government scientific advisor, if the Prime Minister imposes a “short sharp” two-week lockdown during half term in October then over 7,000 deaths could be spared.
Professor Graham Medley said the government must consider imposing short lockdown for half terms, and even plan for the Spring half term.
Professor Medley told a webinar two weeks ago, that “Christmas is going to be very difficult anyway.
The government’s scientific advisory group SAGE told the government three weeks ago to introduce a “circuit breaker” lockdown.
England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty broke ranks with Boris Johnson on Monday evening and warned that the three tier restrictions might not be enough.
Professor Whitty said, “I am not confident and nor is anybody confident that the tier three proposals for the highest rates, if we did the absolute base rates and nothing more would be enough to get on top of it.
“That is why there is a lot of flexibility in the tier three level for local authorities to guided by the directors of public health to actually go up that range so that they can do sufficiently more than the absolute base.
“The base will not be sufficient I think that is very clearly the professional view.”