Boris Johnson’s chief scientific adviser warned that some hospitals were now “like a war zone” with more than 1,800 deaths reported in 24 hours, making Wednesday the worst day of the epidemic in the UK.
The total number of people who died within 28 days of a positive test in the UK was 93,290. Nearly 40,000 patients are now being treated in UK hospitals.
The UK is in its third national lockdown and similar measures are in place across the UK, but officials say mortality rates and pressures in the National Health Service will continue to rise as restrictions are put in place to reduce infection rates.
“It’s very bad and very stressful right now,” Patrick Valens, the government’s chief scientific adviser, told Sky News when asked about the condition of the hospitals. “In some cases it looks like a war zone.”
Johnson reinforced this point. “It is true that the rates of epidemics in the country as a whole may be peak or flat now, but they are not flattening very fast and it is clear that we need to have a grip on this,” the prime minister told reporters on Wednesday.
Ministers have previously said the lock-up could be phased out once about 15 million people most vulnerable to the disease are vaccinated, which the government wants to do by mid-February.
Three days after the vaccination rate dropped, the number of people who received the first shots was taken again on January 19 with 343,163 injections. More than 4.6 million people in the UK have first levels. The government continued to expand vaccination sites, including a mosque in Birmingham and an Odeon cinema in Aylesbury, England.
The next winter may require some restrictions – especially including wearing masks.
Any delay in removing the lock could cause Johnson political trouble as he faces discontent among lawmakers in his Conservative party. Steve Baker, a senior member of parliament, warned last week that it would be a “disaster” if the epidemics lasted until spring.
Recent reports from one of the nation’s largest viral studies have shown a worse picture, especially in London. Between January 6 and January 15, one in 36 people in the capital was infected with Govt-19, more than twice as many as those from early December, according to a study by Imperial College London and Ipsos Mori.
Valens suggested that the government take note of the lessons learned from the epidemic. Evidence “If you want to go beyond this you have to go fast and wide,” he said. “Waiting and watching doesn’t work.”
He added that “severe” isolation measures for travelers in January and February may have helped prevent the import of the disease, but by March “we had several cases and I don’t think it would have made much of a difference.”
Top government scientist Pfizer / Bioentech voiced an enthusiastic tone about the vaccine, suggesting that despite an early analysis by Israel, it was far less effective after the first dose than previously thought. If confirmed, this raises questions about the UK’s strategy of delaying the second level to reach more people in the first place.
But Valens pointed out experimental data showing that the vaccine is 89% effective after a single dose – from 10 days after injection. He emphasized that the letter was not a signal of a formal antitrust inquiry into the allegations, but rather a signal of a formal antitrust inquiry into Israel. Scientists will study data from Israel and the UK in the coming weeks, he said.