The peak of coronavirus deaths in this latest wave of COVID-19 could come within 10 days, a Cambridge University expert has said.
Lockdown measures have had an impact, according to Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, with the peak of infections passing “a good few days ago”.
That will lead to fewer cases and eventually fewer deaths.
“They are likely to level off in a week – 10 days maybe – at a peak which is probably going to be bigger than the first wave peak of 1,000-a-day, but then should decline due the reductions in cases that we are seeing and, of course, the vaccine programme,” the expert from the statistical laboratory at Cambridge told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One.
However, hospital admissions will fall more slowly, Prof Spiegelhalter predicted – especially for people sent to intensive care.
He said while the government is aiming to give everyone over 70 and those extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 a dose of a vaccine by mid-February, just 55% of people going to hospital are older than 70.
Only 25% of people in intensive care are over 70, Prof Spiegelhalter added, despite older age putting people at more risk of developing complications from coronavirus infection.
“We are going to see the reduction in hospitalisations and in particular in intensive care is going to be a lot slower,” he said.
However, vaccinating over-70s and the most vulnerable should cover about 90% of the people who die from it, the professor added.
A total of 1,564 deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test was reported on 13 January, the highest amount over one day since the pandemic began.
The government has recorded more than 86,000 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, though figures compiled by the PA news agency suggest more than 100,000 can be linked to coronavirus.
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