Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips on Sunday that cases continued to rise, with over 50,000 reported in each of the past two days.
He revealed the government’s current projection while encouraging people to keep the NHS COVID-19[feminine[feminine application installed on their phones with contact tracing enabled.
It comes after Downing Street announced that Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak would not be isolated despite their contact with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who tested positive for coronavirus.
The pair then turned around and confirmed that they in fact be self-insulating in the normal way.
Mr Jenrick said: ‘I urge people to make sure they have the NHS app on their phones, that it is fully turned on.
“We’re actually seeing more people downloading the app than ever before, so the evidence is positive.
“But then, if you are contacted by track and trace, of course, follow all the required steps.
“Because this is a very important part of our toolkit to combat the virus at this critical stage as cases continue to rise, hospitalizations are increasing.
“And we won’t really expect this wave of the virus to peak until late August, maybe even early September.
“So there are going to be some pretty tough weeks ahead. “
Cases during the second wave in winter peaked at 68,053 on January 8. The numbers from the first wave last spring are less comparable because mass tests were not available.
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Although Mr Jenrick has stressed the need for caution and cases at their highest level since mid-January, restrictions on coronaviruses are due to end in England on Monday.
Labor shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said continuing the plan with infections so prevalent in society could lead to mutations that could make the virus less susceptible to vaccines.
“When you have a pool of infections in society and a growing level of infection and a partially vaccinated population, you put selective pressure on the virus to mutate,” he said.
“The big risk is that we could snatch defeat from the clutches of victory, if you will, and be pulled back and the vicious cycle starts all over again. “
He added that the government “was effectively stepping on the accelerator and removing the seat belt.”
The shadow Labor minister said if they were in power his party would put in place measures to “break the chains of transmission”.
Mr Ashworth added: “Precautionary measures like wearing a mask, like encouraging people to work from home, like paying people decent sick pay are not being implemented. “
It comes as Professor Neil Ferguson, who is a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said the UK reaching 100,000 new cases a day “is almost inevitable”.
After clarifying that it was “very difficult to make precise predictions,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I think it is almost certain that we will reach 1,000 hospitalizations per day.
“It will almost certainly reach 100,000 cases per day.
“The real question is, can we double that or even more? And this is where the crystal ball starts to fail. We could end up with 2,000 hospitalizations per day, 200,000 cases per day, but that is much less certain. ”