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19th Oct 2021

Downing Street issues winter warning as daily Covid cases near 50,000

Charlie Herbert

Number 10 issues winter warning after covid cases reach almost 50,000

Covid cases are at their highest levels since mid-July

Number 10 has warned that the coming months could be “challenging” after UK coronavirus cases reached almost 50,000.

Throughout October, the daily number of Covid cases have gradually gone up and on Monday (October 18) reached 49,156, the highest level since July 17. This is a 16 per cent rise in new cases over the last week.

Monday’s figure is also just 19,000 cases short of the highest number ever recorded in the country. This record was set on January 8 2021, when 68,053 new cases were reported just as the virus was at its peak during last winter.

Inevitably, hospitalisations and deaths are also rising, with 5,561 people admitted to hospital over the past week, a rise of 6.9 per cent on the week before. Meanwhile the number of deaths within 28 days of a positive test was 869 over the past week, up 11.4 per cent.

A spokesman for Boris Johnson said: “We always knew the coming months would be challenging.

“What we are seeing is case rates, hospitalisations and deaths still broadly in line with the modelling as set out a few months back now.”

They continued by saying the vaccination would be the primary defence mechanism for an upsurge, alongside treatment and testing.

The reasons for the rise in cases is difficult to pin down, though it’s worth noting that UK residents are reported as less likely to wear a mask than our European counterparts.

According to the BBC, this, alongside the stall in vaccination numbers and waning immunity, could play a part in explaining why the UK’s Covid situation is comparatively worse than our neighbours.

The UK now has higher rates of hospitalisation and deaths than many European countries. One of the government’s Covid advisors, Prof Andrew Hayward, told BBC Radio 4’s World At One that we “shouldn’t be complacent because there is still huge potential for the NHS to come under a lot of pressure and for there to be a lot of unnecessary deaths.”

He added: “So we need to get the vaccination rates up and we need to be prepared potentially to think about other measures if things do get out of control.”

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