ENGLAND could see 250 Covid deaths per day by August in worse-case scenario predictions, experts have warned.
At the moment around 37 deaths are occuring every day from the disease.
Graphs in a SPI-M paper published today show deaths reaching more than 250 by August 1
The models come from SPI-M, a group that feeds into Sage.
Graphs in a SPI-M paper published today show deaths reaching more than 250 by August 1. It did not take projections further than that date.
The group’s paper a week prior, on July 7, had only considered daily deaths could reach a maximum of 100 per day by August 1 in the worst possible scenario.
It suggests scientists now think deaths could accelerate faster than expected.
In older modelling from other Sage members around this time, they said the peak of infections will likely arrive a few weeks after July 19, around mid-August, with young unvaccinated people engulfed in the wave.
They estimated the daily death toll could reach 100 to 200 by mid-August.
Hospital admissions were also thought to reach up to 1,000 to 2,000 per day by this point.
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However as time progresses, modelling often becomes out of date because it’s only based on data available at the time.
The new SPI-M predictions could also fall short of what happens in reality.
Delta makes this all the more challenging as it can partly evade some antibody responses.
Dr Stephen Griffin
In its report to the government, advisory group SPI-MO said infections “will almost certainly remain extremely high for at least the rest of the summer”.
But it added: “The next peak in deaths will almost certainly be considerably smaller than that of January 2021. The scale of the next wave in hospital admissions is highly uncertain.
“While most modelled scenarios have peaks lower than in January 2021, a resurgence of this scale of hospitalisations cannot be ruled out.”
Experts have said it’s hard to predict what will happen, mostly because it’s not possible to model how people will behave once restrictions ease.
The public have been urged to exercise caution, but legally there are no restrictions in England anymore.
Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, today called for people to continue wearing face masks and avoid poorly-ventilated indoor settings.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this would drive down transmission and also stop the “pingdemic” of thousands of people being told by the NHS app to self isolate
Sir Jeremy said: “If we have lower transmission in this country by continuing to wear masks and avoiding poorly-ventilated indoor settings as much as we can until as much as the population is vaccinated as possible, that will drive down transmission and also help reduce the number of people having to isolate.”
Asked if sticking to masks and ventilation would be enough, he added: “Lockdowns are extreme, we’ve moved on from lockdowns, but lockdowns are everything thrown at it together and they do drive down transmission.
“We’re not in that world now but there are things we can still do, wearing masks, yes, it makes a difference, it doesn’t affect me or protect me but it makes sure that if I was infected I didn’t pass it on to someone who was vulnerable.
“Avoiding poorly-ventilated settings, particularly indoors, multiple mixing of households, these are all some of the biggest risks, plus getting as many people vaccinated as possible.”
The NHS is racing to vaccinate as many people as possible amid the growing third wave.
Some 87.9 per cent of people in the UK have had one dose of a vaccine so far, while nearly 70 per cent have had two doses.
Studies show that around nine in ten people in England have antibodies against the virus, either through vaccination or immunity.
Vaccines work incredibly well to protect people against severe disease or death, by boosting antibodies in the blood.
But they are not perfect, and the data prove there will still be some vulnerable people, or those whom the jab does not work for, that get Covid.
Dr Stephen Griffin, Associate Professor in the School of Medicine, University of Leeds, said: “Delta makes this all the more challenging as it can partly evade some antibody responses.
“This means that individuals can potentially be infected and infectious, whilst potentially being unaware that they are a carrier…
“We must remember that only just over half of the country has had both vaccine doses, and so many younger and/or vulnerable people remain at risk.”
Dr Griffin also warned of pressures on the NHS that were building before the third wave – long waiting lists and an increase of other viruses caused by more social mixing.