Former Chief Scientist: Hospitals will be 'overwhelmed' if Covid trend continues

20 October 2020, 12:26

By Sam Sholli

Hospitals will be "overwhelmed" if coronavirus infections continue to increase at their current rate, the chair of Independent SAGE has warned.

Professor Sir David King, who was speaking in a personal capacity, made the remarks as Office for National Statistics figures have shown that weekly deaths linked to coronavirus have risen to their highest level in England and Wales since the beginning of July,

A total of 438 deaths were registered in the week ending 9 October with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate, up from 321 in the week to 2 October.

Professor King told LBC's Nick Ferrari: "The number of cases of entry into hospital from the infection...will increase over the next two weeks by about 15,000.

"We know this because those are the people who already have the disease and within two or three weeks will need to go to hospital if they are going to hospital at all.

"Of those 15,000 about 2,000 of those will die. So there's not only a high death rate, but a high hospital entry rate. If the disease carries on increasing at the rate it is right now, the hospitals of the country will be overwhelmed..."

The former Chief Scientific Adviser and chair of the Independent SAGE Group also noted that he had not seen a "proper exit strategy" from the Government when it came to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Professor King explained: "What we're saying for an exit strategy [is] you need to be in a place where countries like New Zealand, South Korea [and] Greece are, which is that 80% of new cases are discovered by testing, they are isolated and their contacts are isolated.

"And what that means is that you're separating infectious people from the population at large. That's how you eliminate a pandemic."

Late last week, Professor King also told LBC that he believes the UK's poor response to the pandemic has led to the public losing trust in the Government.