At least six months before UK 'can get back to normal', Deputy Chief Medical Officer says

Aries

Administrator
Easing coronavirus restrictions too soon would be "dangerous" and could result in a second surge of cases, the deputy chief medical officer for England has warned.

Speaking at the daily Downing Street press conference, Dr Jenny Harries said that it could be six months or longer before "we can get back to normal".

But she added that we would have some "proof" within the next two to three weeks about whether the measures introduced were effective, suggesting it would be "foolish" to expect an impact on numbers already.

Over the last 24 hours the UK's death toll has risen by 209 - a total of 1,228 fatalities have now been reported. Amged El-Hawrani, 55, has become the first frontline health worker to die in the UK after being diagnosed with Covid-19.

Dr Anthony Fauci issued a cautious prediction today that the coronavirus could claim as many as 200,000 lives in the US, as state and local officials described increasingly desperate shortages in hard-pressed hospitals.

And with stress, uncertainty and exhaustion rising across the country, House speaker Nancy Pelosi squarely blamed President Donald Trump for unnecessary loss of life by initially playing down the pandemic.

"His denial at the beginning was deadly," she told CNN. "Don't fiddle while people die, Mr. President."

Dr Fauci, who leads research into infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health, played down worst-case predictions of one million or more deaths, instead offering a rough estimate of 100,000 to 200,000 deaths and "millions of cases," AFP reports.

But Dr Fauci, a leading member of Trump's coronavirus task force and for many Americans a comforting voice of authority, quickly added, "I don't want to be held to that ... It's such a moving target that you can so easily be wrong and mislead people."

By way of comparison, a US flu epidemic in 2018-19 killed 34,000 people.

It took a month for the US to move from its first confirmed death, on February 29, to its 1,000th. But in two days this week that number doubled, to nearly 2,200 on Sunday. The case total of 124,763 - as tallied by Johns Hopkins University - is the world's highest.

"This is the way pandemics work, and that's why we all are deeply concerned and why we have been raising the alert," Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House task force, told NBC. "No state, no metro area will be spared."

...

 
Top