Covid cases have risen by a quarter in the last week and another six people have died from the virus, as a SAGE expert today warned a ‘miserable winter’ could be on the way.
New figures released by the Department of Health showed a further 9,284 coronavirus cases have been diagnosed, up 24 per cent from last week’s figure of 7,490.
Today’s deaths figure is a slight drop from last week’s total of eight, a sign that the vaccination programme is continuing to keep mortality rates low despite the increase in cases.
Government data up to June 19 showed that of the 73,766,593 jabs given in the UK so far, 42,964,013 were first doses – a rise of 280,241 on the previous day.
Some 31,340,507 were second doses, an increase of 236,363.
However, Professor Calum Semple – a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), which advises the Government – today warned that further lockdowns could be a possibility because of the emergence of new respiratory viruses.
Professor Semple told Times Radio: ‘I suspect we’ll have a pretty miserable winter because the other respiratory viruses are going to come back and bite us quite hard.
‘But after that, I think we’ll be seeing business as normal next year.
‘There’s a sting in the tail after every pandemic, because social distancing will have reduced exposure, particularly of pregnant women and their newborn babies, they will have not been exposed to the usual endemic respiratory viruses.’
He added that the above factors could mean the UK has what he called a ‘fourth wave winter’.
New figures released by the Department of Health showed a further 9,284 coronavirus cases have been diagnosed, up 24 per cent from last week’s figure of 7,490
Today’s deaths figure is a slight drop from last week’s total of eight, a sign that the vaccination programme is continuing to keep mortality rates low despite the increase in cases
The professor added: ‘The protection that a pregnant woman would give to their unborn child has not occurred.
‘So we are going to see a rise in a disease called bronchiolitis, and a rise in community acquired pneumonia in children and in the frail elderly, to the other respiratory viruses for which we don’t have vaccines.
‘So that’s why we’re predicting a rough July, August and then a rough winter period.’
Even though he called it the ‘fourth wave winter’, he said it would be much milder than the previous ones.
Dr Susan Hopkins, the strategic response director for Covid-19 at Public Health England (PHE) also warned of a possible rise in cases at the end of the year.
She told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show: ‘We may have to do further lockdowns this winter, I can’t predict the future, it really depends on whether the hospitals start to become overwhelmed at some point.
Professor Calum Semple, member of Sage, which advises the Government, has said that children and elderly people will be vulnerable to endemic viruses at the end of the year
Experts have warned that hospitals could become overwhelmed at the end of the year
Dr Susan Hopkins, the strategic response director for Covid-19 at Public Health England (PHE) has warned of a possible rise in cases and said more lockdowns could be needed this year
Expert predicts 70% of adults will be double vaccinated by July 19
Dr Susan Hopkins said that 70 per cent of adults in the UK should be able to get their second Covid-19 vaccination by July 19
Asked what it would take for coronavirus restrictions to be eased, she told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show: ‘What I would like to see is that everyone over the age of 40 has had the opportunity to get double-vaccinated.
‘And as many people over the age of 30 have the opportunity to get two doses of vaccination as well.
‘We know that two doses of vaccination really protects against hospital admission, about 94% overall and 92% for AstraZeneca and 96% for Pfizer.
‘Overall as many people getting two doses of vaccination would be really good.’
She added: ‘We should be able to hit the 70% figure having two doses before July 19.’
‘But I think we will have alternative ways to manage this, through vaccination, through anti-virals, through drugs, through testing that we didn’t have last winter.
‘All of those things allow us different approaches rather than restrictions on livelihoods that will move us forward into the next phase of learning to live with this as an endemic that happens as part of the respiratory viruses.’
It comes as thousands of Covid-19 jabs are being administered at stadiums and football grounds in London which were transformed into mass vaccination centres.
Giant jab clinics have been set up at the Olympic Stadium, Stamford Bridge, Tottenham Hotspur FC, Charlton Athletic FC, Selhurst Park and Crystal Palace Athletics Centre.
Smaller events are also taking place in local community venues in a drive to vaccinate as many Londoners as possible.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he was ‘delighted’ to visit Chelsea’s ground at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea FC had 6,000 Pfizer vaccines to administer on Saturday, with the jab being offered to all adults over the age of 18 yet to receive a first dose, as well as those awaiting a second Pfizer dose.
Mr Khan said: ‘Chelsea FC, West Ham at the London Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur FC, Charlton Athletic FC, are hosting large-scale pop-up clinics, and there are a huge number of events taking place in local community centres, so that as many people as possible get convenient access to the life-saving Covid jabs.
‘You do not need to be registered with a GP to get vaccinated.
‘It is great news that more than eight million doses of the life-saving Covid-19 vaccine have been given to Londoners, and now all adults over the age of 18 are able to get the jab.
People queue at an NHS Vaccination Clinic at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium in north London
The NHS is braced for high demand for the jabs as anyone in England over the age of 18 can now book a Covid-19 vaccination jab. Pictured: queues at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium
As people queue at Tottenham’s stadium (pictured), West Ham, Chelsea and Charlton Athletic are also hosting large-scale vaccination pop-up centres for adults aged over the age of 18
A Tottenham fan receives a dose of Pfizer BioNTech vaccine at a mass vaccination centre
‘We are seeing the big difference that the vaccine is making in our fight against the virus, so I strongly urge all adult Londoners to book their appointments or attend a walk-in centre as soon as possible, and to ensure you get your second dose.’
The ‘super pop-ups’ are expected to attract thousands of young Londoners on ‘super Saturday’ who are now eligible to receive their first Covid jab.
A huge queue was in place at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, east London, as people got in line to get their jab.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi tweeted: ‘This is an incredible effort by the whole London team.
‘Happening across the City at Spurs, Arsenal, Charlton and West Ham too. Come on London let’s get vaccinated!’
The good news came as Health Secretary Matt Hancock was accused of failing to tell Prime Minister Boris Johnson about a major report with promising conclusions about vaccine effectiveness against the Indian Covid variant at a crucial meeting before ministers decided to delay easing restrictions.
The claims in the Sunday Telegraph heap more pressure on the beleaguered Health Secretary after axed Number 10 advisor Dominic Cummings revealed that Boris Johnson had branded his response to the pandemic ‘f***ing hopeless’.
Questions about the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing Covid hospitalisations caused by the Indian strain were at the centre of the ministers’ decision last week to delay ‘Freedom Day’ until July 19.
Pictured: A young woman receives the Covid-19 vaccine at a large pop-up walk-in vaccine clinic taking place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London earlier today
That decision was taken after a meeting of ‘the quad’ of Mr Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and Mr Hancock on June 13.
But critics now claim that the data shows the decision to delay was not necessary and argue that ‘Freedom Day’ should be brought forward to July 5 because, they suggest, surging coronavirus cases will not result in a wave of hospitalisations that would overwhelm the NHS.
The Health Secretary is believed to have known about study produced by Public Health England into the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines on June 10.
The data in the report shows that the two vaccines were more effective at stopping hospitalisations from the now-dominant Indian variant than with previous strains.
PHE also provided written analysis on the data which they sent to Mr Hancock on June 12. But the information was not shared with the Prime Minister, Mr Sunak, or Mr Gove during their meeting on Sunday that led to the postponement of June 21.
Sources told the Sunday Telegraph that the study was not even included in briefing papers at the meeting.
Cabinet minister Robert Buckland swatted away allegations that Mr Hancock withheld the crucial information, telling Trevor Phillips on Sky News this morning: ‘Sadly I’m afraid that report is wrong.’
He also criticised calling Mr Hancock ‘hopeless’ after Mr Johnson’s damning messages about the Health Secretary were revealed by Mr Cummings, adding: ‘To bandy around words like that I think does nobody any service at all.
‘He’s been a most useful and dynamic Health Secretary who enjoys our full support.’
Reminded that they were the Prime Minister’s words, Mr Buckland said: ‘I’m not going to get into text messages or WhatsApp messages sent between people and then disclosed in a rather unfortunate way.
‘I don’t believe that’s actually a reflection of the reality.
‘I’ve been working within Cabinet, within Government, throughout this crisis and I don’t detect any suggestion that somewhere there is anything but the fullest confidence of what Matt has been doing and what he continues to do energetically.’
He went on: ‘The data was provided to the Prime Minister and other members of that Cabinet committee in the most up to date way before the decision was made on Monday, and those taking part in the meeting had all the relevant data in the most up to date way before the decision was made.
‘There’s no question of the Prime Minister not being cited on important data, it was provided to him and other members of the committee in the normal way as people would expect.’