Coronavirus outbreak could peak in the UK at Easter and last for another six months: Millions could catch deadly infection with 90 per cent of cases coming between March and June, warns leading microbiologist
- Increase expected as testing ramped up and community transmission continues
- Microbiologist Peter Piot says that the virus threat has not been overhyped
- He said cases will fall in April or May but it could come back again in November
Britain’s deadly coronavirus outbreak could peak at Easter and last for six months – with millions set to be infected.
A big increase in British diagnoses is expected as the virus is now being transmitted in the community and testing is being ramped up.
Microbiologist Peter Piot says that the threat has not been overhyped and that there are probably already a few thousand people in the UK infected, as cases appear to roughly double each week.
Britain’s deadly coronavirus outbreak could peak at Easter and last for six months – with millions set to be infected. Pictured: a woman wears a protective mask on the underground in London
A big increase in British diagnoses is expected as the virus is now being transmitted in the community and testing is being ramped up. Pictured: woman wearing a protective face mask on Oxford Street in central London
An expert has said that we will reach a peak of the epidemic somewhere around Easter as shown by this graph
Speaking to The Times he said that we will reach a peak of the epidemic somewhere around Easter.
It comes as two people have died from the virus – which has a mortality rate of 15 per cent in those over 80 – on British soil so far, both of whom were elderly.
In total in the UK, 164 people have tested positive for Covid-19, up from 115 cases reported on Thursday.
Even once it reaches its peak, coronavirus chaos could last for another six months – infecting millions of people as the UK is ravaged by the disease.
Dr Piot added: ‘If it goes down in April or May it could come back again in November,’ adding that there is currently no vaccine and that ‘medieval ways of containment’ are being used so far.
The expert said that due to the likeliness the illness will return next winter it is vital to plough resources into making a vaccine.
His comments come as Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, warned Britain was at the start of an outbreak.
Even once it reaches its peak, coronavirus chaos could last for another six months – infecting millions of people as the UK is ravaged by the disease. A woman wears a mask on the underground in London
In total, 164 people have tested positive for Covid-19, up from 115 cases reported at the same time on Thursday
The number of infected patients across the UK more than doubled between Tuesday and Thursday, with the figure rising from 51 to 116.
He said: ‘We have cases across Europe, across the world, this is a global epidemic and we would expect to see more cases in the UK.
‘We’ve got a reasonable worst-case scenario… that involves 80 per cent of the population and we think the mortality rate is one per cent or lower. I expect it to be less than that.
‘It takes about 12 weeks to reach the peak then maybe about 12 weeks to go away again.
People queue outside a Boots pharmacy store in west London where stocks of hand sanitiser are limited to two per person
‘You expect about 90 per cent of cases in the nine weeks in the middle of that and 50 per cent of cases in the three weeks of the middle of that.’
The NHS is ramping up the number of testing centres across the country, in response to significant and increasing demand in response to the new virus, so that 4,000 tests can be analysed every single day.
Who is expert Peter Piot – ‘the Mick Jagger of microbiology’
Peter Piot, 71, – currently the director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine – has devoted his life to hunting down infectious diseases.
At 27 he helped to discover Ebola in Zaire.
He has also lead the fight against Aids and pioneered research on sexually transmitted diseases and women’s health.
Among scientists he is known as the ‘Mick Jagger of microbiologists’.
Additional investment means that more call handlers will be recruited to NHS 111 to give expert advice to callers with concerns about the virus.
Dr Richard Hatchett, who heads up the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, said yesterday that governments need to adopt an ‘aggressive’ response to tackle the virus as he revealed it could take between 12-18 months to develop a vaccine and cost £1.5bn ($2bn).
He has said it is the most frightening thing he has ever encountered and far more deadly than flu – as he revealed fighting it will be like a war.
Two British Airways baggage handlers working at Heathrow Airport are among the new positive tests, sparking fears over how many items of luggage they handled while carrying the virus.
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