A scientist who advises the government has warned that the UK is facing between 40,000 and 50,000 more deaths before the second wave burns out.
This comes after the UK recorded more than 100,000 deaths and the Prime Minister said he was “deeply sorry” for every life that has been lost.
Boris Johnson said he take “full responsibility” over the government’s response to the pandemic and said, “we did everything we could” to minimise suffering.
Professor Calum Semple, who sits on the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), predicted there could be a further 50,000 deaths.
Professor Semple warned that every Covid fatality “represents probably four or five people who survive but are damaged” by the virus.
He told BBC Two’s Newsnight programme, “It would really not surprise me if we’re looking at another 40-50,000 deaths before this burns out,”
Before Johnson announced the first national lockdown last March, chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said keeping the death toll below 20,000 would be a “good outcome.”
Johnson said it was “hard to compute the sorrow contained in that grim statistic,” that the UK has now surpassed 100,000 deaths.
England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty braced England for “a lot more deaths over the next few weeks before the effects of the vaccines begin to be felt.”
He cautioned against relaxing restrictions “too early”
A paper which was published last Friday by the New And Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), said that there is a “realistic possibility” the new variant is associated with the increase in death.
Professor Peter Horby of emerging infectious diseases, University of Oxford, and chairman of Nervtag, said, “The core principles of control remain exactly the same for this virus as the old variants.
“There’s no evidence that this new virus is evading any of the treatments that have been found to work or any of the vaccines.
“It just highlights the importance of continuing to drive down the numbers of infections occurring.”