A DOOMSDAY warning from SAGE scientists has warned that 85,000 more people could die of coronavirus in the second wave – with infections peaking at 100,000 a day by Valentine's Day.
Gloomy 'worst case scenario' documents from the Government's top team of experts lays bare a bleak picture for the country over the winter ahead, The Spectator revealed tonight.
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Although it is not a working assumption, the pessimistic predictions show that 356,000 may need to go to hospital – and the wave of deaths could last until March.
The core assumption is of "a difficult autumn followed by a large winter peak", the document says.
Restrictions would be tightened "to reduce non-household contacts to half of their normal pre-March 2020 lockdown levels" – but schools would remain open.
It adds: "These measures are sustained until the end of March 2021" – which fits in with Boris Johnson's predictions about extra rules for six months.
The doomsday document also claimed:
- Deaths would peak at around 800 a day in "late February 2021"
- 25,000 could be in hospital at the worst of the peak
- 5,000 may be in intensive care in England alone by March
- A study commissioned by Sir Patrick Vallance was even more pessimistic – predicting 120,000 excess deaths over the winter.
However, the document was published on 30 July, meaning it's now long out of date.
And officials in the Department of Health point out that the worst-case scenarios of the first wave never came true – the thousands of ventilators that were needed.
And they pointed to warnings from previous pandemics which also were overblown.
The documents also fail to discuss the additional costs that more lockdown measures could have on the country.
Boris Johnson has so far resisted pressure for more national lockdown measures, saying that it wouldn't be fair to clamp down on parts of the country that have lower rates of infection.
But after The Sun revealed gloomy Sage warnings yesterday saying all of England may need to be in Tier 3 by Christmas, the PM is under pressure to take further action ahead of the holiday period.
The Sun has learned that the latest government modelling overseen by chief scientist Sir Patrick Vallance shows more than 25,000 will be in hospital with the virus by the end of November — higher than the spring peak.
That is also more than double the 9,199 who were battling the bug in hospital yesterday.
It comes as officials predict the second Covid wave could be even deadlier than the first, with a "lower but longer peak".
No10 assumes the death toll this winter is going to be worse than that experienced by the UK in the spring.
Professor Neil Ferguson, the scientist whose modelling prompted the UK-wide lockdown in March, told the PA news agency that measures in Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas are "unlikely to cause daily cases and deaths to fall rapidly".
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the Government's failure to introduce a circuit-break lockdown over the school half-term has "put Christmas at risk" and urged ministers to "do something quickly to save Christmas".
The PM has yet to say whether the rules will be lifted for the holiday period as he hopes – but the latest reports make this look unlikely.
Today George Eustice indicated the Rule of Six and lockdown tier system would still be in place over Christmas – dashing hopes of family gatherings for millionf.
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