Coronavirus UK: NHS models predict more deaths than SAGE estimates

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Models produced by the Government’s scientists allege that the UK is on course for a much higher death toll than during the first wave of Covid-19 unless a second national shutdown is imposed.

SAGE – the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies – today showed Boris Johnson new models at a crunch Cabinet meeting which showed that coronavirus deaths could reach more than 4,000 per day.

This figure is based on no restrictions being brought in to slow the spread of the virus, but most of SAGE’s models peak at around 2,000 deaths from the virus per day during the winter. 

The model is understood to be part of a presentation by the Government’s pandemic modelling group SPI-M shown to the Prime Minister, and feature several different projections of the course of Covid-19. 

All the models predict that hospitalisations are likely to peak in mid-December, with deaths rising until at least late December before falling from early January, according to the BBC

Meanwhile, a separate paper circulating in Whitehall warns that the NHS would be unable to accept any more patients by Christmas, even if the massive Nightingale hospitals were used and non-urgent procedures cancelled.

This document, which is based on NHS England modelling from October 28, claims that south-west England and the Midlands will be the first to run out of capacity within two weeks.   

SAGE - the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies - today showed Boris Johnson new models at a crunch Cabinet meeting which showed that coronavirus deaths could reach more than 4,000 per day. This figure is based on no restrictions being brought in to slow the spread of the virus, but most of SAGE's models peak at around 2,000 deaths from the virus per day

SAGE – the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies – today showed Boris Johnson new models at a crunch Cabinet meeting which showed that coronavirus deaths could reach more than 4,000 per day. This figure is based on no restrictions being brought in to slow the spread of the virus, but most of SAGE’s models peak at around 2,000 deaths from the virus per day

The Prime Minister has repeatedly slapped down calls from Labour to impose an England-wide 'circuit-breaker' and pressed ahead with a tiered strategy of local measures, but is now due to announce a new national shutdown

The Prime Minister has repeatedly slapped down calls from Labour to impose an England-wide ‘circuit-breaker’ and pressed ahead with a tiered strategy of local measures, but is now due to announce a new national shutdown

Separate data from King's College London predicted England has around 32,000 cases per day and claimed infections are rising 'steadily' and 'have not spiralled out of control'

Separate data from King’s College London predicted England has around 32,000 cases per day and claimed infections are rising ‘steadily’ and ‘have not spiralled out of control’

SAGE’s new models suggest that the pandemic is spreading much faster in England than the committee’s predicted ‘worst case’ scenario after scientists told the Government two weeks ago that the UK could face 1,000 deaths a day within a month and exceed 85,000 coronavirus deaths.

That prediction, dated October 14, which was released online, claimed ‘we are breaching the number of infections and hospital admissions in the Reasonable Worst Case planning scenario’ before adding that the outlooks for Covid-19’s future spread was ‘concerning’ if no action was taken.  

According to briefings from advisers, they believe there is still time to save Christmas with a lockdown of at least a month that closes restaurants, pubs and all but essential shops. 

The SAGE papers from two weeks ago warned that modelling suggested that up to 74,000 people a day could be becoming infected in England alone, far beyond the worst case scenario. 

There is a lag of around three weeks between infections and deaths. The scientists told ministers that without further restrictions, the death toll will keep rising exponentially, and hospitals will be overwhelmed. 

Cabinet sources leaked news of the impending month-long shutdown to the Mail last night after the Government’s scientists warned Mr Johnson that Covid-19 cases in the UK are accelerating faster than their worst-case scenario’ of 85,000 coronavirus deaths this winter, with 1,000 deaths a day by December. 

Another 326 UK fatalities were declared today – nearly double last Saturday’s tally. But infections, which can represent the current situation more accurately, were down five per cent on a week ago at 21,915.    

Percentage change in coronavirus cases across England in the week to October 25: The five local authorities where the infection rate grew the most are: Kingston upon Hull City, 92.81 per cent; Derby, 91.84 per cent; North Somerset, 82.99 per cent; Medway, 77.17 per cent; and Bath and North East Somerset 69.72 per cent

 Percentage change in coronavirus cases across England in the week to October 25: The five local authorities where the infection rate grew the most are: Kingston upon Hull City, 92.81 per cent; Derby, 91.84 per cent; North Somerset, 82.99 per cent; Medway, 77.17 per cent; and Bath and North East Somerset 69.72 per cent

Almost 20 NHS trusts in England are already treating more coronavirus patients than at the peak of the first wave, according to official statistics that come amid warnings hospitals across the country could run out of beds before Christmas

Almost 20 NHS trusts in England are already treating more coronavirus patients than at the peak of the first wave, according to official statistics that come amid warnings hospitals across the country could run out of beds before Christmas 

It comes as experts claimed the NHS could be overwhelmed ‘within weeks’ without drastic action to tackle the spread of Covid-19, in a repeat of warnings made to lock-down the country in March. 

Ministers fear that hospitals could fill up with rising coronavirus admissions. Without action to stem the tide of cases, it would be ‘impossible’ for the health service to cope in the coming weeks, academics said.

Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, said: ‘Doctors and scientists agree that none of the current restrictions have been enough to stop the virus spreading.

‘Without a change, the NHS would have been overwhelmed within weeks and it would have been difficult if not impossible to cope in the winter months with the inevitable increase in caring for people with Covid as well as non-Covid illnesses. There’s absolutely no doubt that many more of us would have seen loved ones die, suffer with long-term Covid symptoms or from other illnesses.

‘The only way to get things back to normal quickly is to get the virus under control as soon as possible.’

Dr Shaun Fitzgerald, Royal Academy of Engineering visiting professor at the University of Cambridge, added: ‘None of us want this at all. But it now seems there is no choice if we are to avoid letting thousands and thousands more die, and the health service swamped to an extent that even non-Covid patients are seriously affected.’

The news comes as the UK recorded more than one million lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus since the start of the outbreak, according to Government data. And hospitals are feeling the pressure as cases rise.

There are now almost 11,000 people in hospitals across the UK – including 978 on ventilators. And many hospitals are treating more patients than they were at the height of the first wave of the pandemic.  

In September, the Government’s chief scientific officer warned that the UK could be facing 50,000 new Covid-19 cases a day by mid-October, leading to 200 deaths a day a month later. But the Government said a further 326 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Saturday.

Figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 62,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.

Source


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