Professor Chris Whitty said the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19[feminine[feminine doubles every three weeks or so and could reach “pretty scary numbers” if this trend continues.
“I don’t think we should underestimate the fact that we could be in trouble again surprisingly quickly,” he said during a webinar hosted by the Science Museum.
He added, “We’re by no means out of the woods on this, we’re in much better shape thanks to the immunization program, drugs and a variety of other things.
“But it has a long way to go in the UK, and it’s even further from working globally. “
Professor Whitty said the main thing after July 19 was to “take things incredibly slowly,” adding that he expects most people to always take precautions.
“If you look at what people have done, and actually if you look at what people are planning to do now, people have been incredibly good at saying, ‘I can be a relatively low risk, but people around me are at high risk, and I will change my behaviors, ”he said.
Looking ahead, Professor Whitty said that in the medium term, COVID-19 could mutate into a ‘vaccine escape variant’ that could take the UK ‘partly back’ to the worst days of the world. pandemic.
“The further we go in time, the more scientific tools we have at our disposal, the less likely it is, but you can never completely rule out that possibility,” he said.
“But you know, science has done a phenomenal job so far and it will continue to do so. “
Professor Whitty’s comments come after Boris Johnson claimed it was “highly likely” that the worst of the pandemic was over – the day the United Kingdom recorded its highest number of daily cases for six months.
The Prime Minister urged people not to “throw caution to the winds” when most legal restrictions in England end on Monday, as he acknowledged that there would be more hospital admissions and deaths in the “difficult days and weeks ahead”.
The latest figures show there had been 48,553 more cases of COVID-19 as of 9 a.m. on Thursday.
Another 63 people died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus.
A total of 49 deaths were recorded on Wednesday, making the increase the largest overnight increase since March 26.
Johnson recently said daily cases could reach 50,000 by Monday, while Health Secretary Sajid Javid spoke of the number of cases surpassing 100,000 this summer.
But speaking on Thursday, he said the success of the UK’s vaccination program, which has seen more than two-thirds of adults receive two doses, meant the government can move forward with the fourth stage of its roadmap out of restrictions.
“If we are careful and if we continue to respect this disease and its continuing threat, it is highly likely – almost all scientists agree on this – the worst of the pandemic is behind us,” said the Prime Minister .
“There are tough days and weeks ahead as we face the current wave of the Delta variant and there will unfortunately be more hospitalizations and more deaths, but with each passing day we are raising the wall. immunity acquired by vaccination. “
The lifting of most coronavirus rules on Monday will see ministers seeking to shift the focus from government diktat to people who assess risks and make their own decisions.
A set of guidelines were issued before July 19, but ministers were accused of sending “mixed messages” to individuals and businesses on what they should do beyond that date, particularly regarding face masks.
Despite the lifting of the legal requirement to wear face masks on public transport and in stores, guidelines for businesses released Wednesday say the government “still expects and recommends that people continue to wear face masks. face in closed and crowded spaces ”.
Critics have said the guidelines are a “recipe for chaos”, but the prime minister said businesses are “perfectly capable” of understanding the new face covering guidelines and the guidelines.
“We are moving away from legal compulsion but we are saying that of course the pandemic is not over and unfortunately people have to be careful,” he said.