UK could see a ‘large’ Covid wave in autumn, Professor Neil Ferguson warns

·2-min read
Coronavirus in numbers: UK coronavirus cases at 409,729
Coronavirus in numbers: UK coronavirus cases at 409,729

The UK could have the “potential” to see a “large wave” of coronavirus infections from September, a leading epidemiologist predicted on Monday. 

Professor Neil Ferguson, an infectious disease modeller and epidemiologist from Imperial College London, said the UK could still see “quite substantial transmission going into the autumn and coming up to the winter”.

Prof Ferguson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme case numbers still remain “quite high” at about 30,000 a day. 

He described this as a “slightly sobering situation” going into September.

The former member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) added we still “have the potential of quite a large wave of infection in September, October” when life returns to normal as children go back to school and workers come back to the office.

Watch: Covid cases rise by 29,520 in UK

More than 47 million people in the UK have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine so far - part of the biggest inoculation programme the country has ever launched.

Prof Ferguson said vaccinations means it is “unlikely” we will see deaths comparable with levels last seen in January.

However, the expert issued a stark warning hospital admissions could still rise to 1,000 a day and put additional “stress” on the NHS

His comments come as the UK’s coronavirus figures hit 32,700 cases on Friday while 100 more deaths were recorded.

Over the weekend there was a fall in the daily coronavirus cases and deaths; Sunday recorded 26,750 new Covid infections and 61 deaths compared to Saturday’s 29,520 new coronavirus cases and 93 deaths.  

Infections were in the 20,000s last week after new infections soared to 50,000 in mid-July.

While the R rate, which represents the average number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect, fell slightly in England to 0.8 and 1.

Watch: What is long COVID?

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