England is two weeks behind Spain's coronavirus resurgence, warns data expert

31 July 2020, 18:01

UK is two weeks behind Spain's coronavirus resurgence: data expert

By Fiona Jones

England is two weeks behind Spain's coronavirus resurgence and if the public relaxes too much, cases could increase by 800% in no time at all, warns data expert John Burn-Murdoch.

Plans to further ease coronavirus lockdown measures in England from Saturday have been scrapped, Boris Johnson has announced.

The prime minister told the Downing Street press conference on Friday that the nation "must squeeze the brakes" on lifting lockdown measures, with casinos, bowling alleys and skating rinks unable to reopen.

The decisions made today reportedly came from new ONS figures which show daily cases have risen from an estimated 2800 two weeks ago to 4200 last week.

Data expert John Burn-Murdoch told LBC that the ONS are meticulous with their figures so this is a certainty that coronavirus is having a "real resurgence" across England.

He explained that England is two or three weeks behind Spain: "The virus will circulate in different countries at different times... the fact that the UK locked down later and therefore eased its lockdown later means we are a few weeks behind other countries in seeing those upticks."

Last week 0.07% of the population had coronavirus outside of hospitals and care homes - LBC's Tom Swarbrick remarked that some members of the public would consider this an infinitesimal amount of people to lockdown for.

Mr Burn-Murdoch said by simply looking at the numbers this is not an unreasonable assumption: "With a virus like Covid those numbers can increase extremely quickly.

"If we look at somewhere like Spain, the rate of new cases in Spain increased by 7-800% in a matter of weeks. So that 0.07%, you could find in the space of a week or two that number could double one day, double the next day.

"It's about stalling that momentum...because of that exponential nature of how the virus spreads those numbers can go from tiny to still small but considerably higher very quickly," he said.

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