Eddie Mair 4pm - 7pm
Sajid Javid: Case numbers could rise far higher than 50,000 after July 19
6 July 2021, 08:23
Health Secretary Sajid Javid warns 'the pandemic is not over' but says there has been a 'weakening of the link' between cases and deaths.
After the Prime Minister announced the next stage of unlocking from Covid restrictions, LBC's Tom Swarbrick spoke to the new Health Secretary.
Tom asked Sajid Javid about comments made by the Prime Minister, who yesterday admitted that cases of Covid-19 were rising rapidly and they could reach 50,000 a day by 19 July.
Mr Javid said the current modelling supports the comments made by Boris Johnson.
"I have to level with you, I think beyond July 19, as these easings come in, we should expect to see the case numbers far higher than 50,000."
The Health Secretary warned that even though restrictions were easing, the virus is "still out there" and the "pandemic is not over."
But, he said while the number of cases may be high, there had been a "significant weakening" of the link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths.
The conversation comes after England's Chief Medical Officer warned winter will be "tricky" with the double threat of Covid-19 and a resurgence of other respiratory viruses which were kept at bay during lockdowns.
Professor Chris Whitty said the situation could be "very difficult" for the health service as a result.
Both he and Boris Johnson said it is better to lift restrictions now rather than delay until autumn or winter, when the Prime Minister said the virus would have "an edge".
Prof Whitty said he is of the "strong view" that a summer reopening "has some advantages" over autumn, when schools return, and winter "when the NHS tends to be under greatest pressure for many other reasons".
He told a Downing Street press conference: "The winter is inevitably going to be tricky and this winter the NHS is likely to have both Covid and some resurgence of other respiratory viruses that were suppressed by the degree of lockdown last time round.
"So I think we should be realistic and this coming winter may be very difficult for the NHS."
Mr Johnson stressed that a final decision on the July 19 reopening will not be taken until next week, and NHS Providers - which represents trusts - urged him to "keep a very close watch" on the data in the days ahead.