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How Covid-19 cases are less than HALF of Whitty and Vallance’s doomsday prediction of 50,000

England’s growing second wave of Covid-19 was today laid bare by an array of graphs that revealed under-30s in the North are driving the spiralling outbreak — but that the disease is slowly creeping South.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, presented a series of striking charts showing how the coronavirus situation is unfolding. 

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In a televised briefing from Downing Street this morning, he warned about a ‘marked pick-up’ in cases which will inevitably lead to more deaths. And he said it was of ‘concern’ that Covid-19 was ‘heating up’ in more of England than a week ago, saying the crisis has changed in ‘a matter of just a few days’. 

But the data clearly showed the resurgence of this disease this autumn was initially being driven by under-30s in the North West, who are not as vulnerable to the disease. Scientists are concerned by a spike in older adults, who face a much higher risk of dying from Covid-19. 

One heat-chart revealed cases in the North West crept up among over-60s within weeks, saying the pattern is ‘likely to be followed’ across England. Professor Van-Tam said: ‘The North West experienced all of this first and my understanding is that pattern is likely to be followed – you can see it in the North East and you can see it in Yorkshire and the Humber just beginning but at an earlier stage.’ 

The data will pave the way for Boris Johnson to unveil the government’s ‘traffic light’ coronavirus lockdown today, with ministers warning it could last till Christmas. The PM is defying the wrath of local leaders and Tory MPs to plough ahead with the new system as he desperately struggles to get a grip on surging cases.

It comes as it was today revealed that Britain has fallen far short of the Government’s doomsday prediction of 50,000 cases a day by tomorrow, figures show. 

Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty, the country’s chief scientific and medical officers, made the bleak forecast last month as they urged Britons to abide by new lockdown curbs amid rising cases.

Speaking at the Downing Street TV press conference on September 22 — when there were about 4,000 infections each day — they warned that case numbers could continue to double every week.

Sir Patrick said: ‘If, and that’s quite a big if, but if that continues unabated, and this grows, doubling every seven days, you would end up with something like 50,000 cases in the middle of October per day.’

But the latest figures released yesterday show the true trajectory of the virus has fallen well short of the doomsday scenario, with the Department of Health recording 12,872 positive tests.

Covid-19 case numbers are always lower on weekends because of a recording lag, which means the real number of infections on Sunday will probably be slightly higher.

But infections should have been above 40,000, according to the Government’s depressing estimates last month. And cases will need to rise by 37,128 within the next 24 hours for Sir Patrick and Professor Whitty’s predictions to come true. 

The advisers also warned deaths could soon surge past 200 but there were 65 victims yesterday — not even a third of the September forecast.

Scientists described the experts’ estimates as ‘scientifically inaccurate’ because the prediction was based on just few hundred positive cases, and accused them of scaremongering. Some Tory MPs were said to have nicknamed the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser ‘Witless and Unbalanced’ on the back of the prediction.

It comes as Boris Johnson faces fury ahead of him unveiling the government’s ‘traffic light’ coronavirus lockdown today — with ministers warning it could last till Christmas. The PM is defying the wrath of local leaders and Tory MPs to plough ahead with the new system as he desperately struggles to get a grip on surging cases.

Britain is recording fewer than half of the Government's doomsday prediction of 50,000 cases a day by tomorrow, figures show

Britain is recording fewer than half of the Government’s doomsday prediction of 50,000 cases a day by tomorrow, figures show

Sir Patrick Vallance (left), Chief Scientific Adviser, and Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer, were said to have been given the nicknames 'Witless and Unbalanced' on the back of the doomsday prediction

Sir Patrick Vallance (left), Chief Scientific Adviser, and Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer, were said to have been given the nicknames ‘Witless and Unbalanced’ on the back of the doomsday prediction

The chances of surviving coronavirus after falling critically ill have increased significantly since the pandemic began, data shows

The chances of surviving coronavirus after falling critically ill have increased significantly since the pandemic began, data shows

A spokesman for Sir Vallance confirmed the estimate was ‘heavily’ based on findings of the weekly survey of the Office for National Statistics, and the React-1 survey by Imperial College London.

The studies test a random sample of tens of thousands of people but, as the virus remains at low levels, they have to base their predictions off only a few hundred positive cases.

Risk of coronavirus death in hospital is FALLING: Treatment helps intensive care fatalities drop to 20%, new figures reveal 

The chances of surviving coronavirus after falling critically ill have increased significantly since the pandemic began, data shows.

Scientists say improved treatment has seen death rates in the most seriously ill patients fall by almost a third since the peak.

The figures have also been helped by more widespread testing picking up a greater number of less serious cases.

The proportion of patients dying in hospital intensive care units has fallen from around 30 per cent to below 20 per cent since April.

The fall in the death rate as a proportion of all patients admitted to hospital is even more striking – plummeting from 6 per cent at the peak to around 2 per cent now.

Professor Peter Horby, a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, welcomed the ‘good news’ amid rising case numbers.

He said increased testing and tracing capabilities combined with a ‘much better understanding of the disease’ has led to death rates among the sickest dropping to a less than a fifth. 

‘What’s great to see is that it is the risk of death in hospitalised patients is coming down,’ he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

‘It was pretty high at about 25 to 30 per cent in the last wave. And although the data are preliminary, it looks like it’s coming down and may be below 20 per cent so that’s something that is good news.’ 

In React-1 study on September 7, they identified 136 coronavirus cases out of 153,000 people sampled. The low number led them to predict that infections could double every seven days, a figure that was then used by the Government scientists.

The Government admitted it used these surveys as opposed to actual testing data because it was worried the figures lagged behind the spread of the disease.

Hugh Pennington, an emeritus microbiologist at Aberdeen University, told MailOnline at the time their prediction ‘wasn’t scientifically accurate’.

‘It was almost designed to scare us,’ he said. ‘It didn’t take into account we are doing a lot. I was annoyed because they were naughty doing that.’

Professor Paul Hunter, a medical expert at the University of East Anglia, said the figures they presented were ‘implausible’ for mid-October.

‘It’s important to bear in mind that they were not making a prediction, they were presenting an illustration of what would happen if cases continued to double, which they almost certainly will not,’ he said.

Professor Anthony Brookes, an expert in genomics at the University of Leicester, said they had presented a ‘distorted, unbalanced view of reality’.

‘Modelling is using guestimates and trying to predict the future,’ he said. ‘But models are not data. There should be a way to try and replicate what has happened in the past and try and go forward (with this).’

The UK statistic regulator has had to step in seven times during the pandemic after Government departments quoted data that had not been made available to the public. The head of the Office for Statistics Regulation, Ed Humpson, said such incidents were ‘disappointing’.

On one occasion they stepped in to contact the Department of Health when a figure for the distance people were travelling to get a Covid-19 test was quoted ‘quite widely in the public domain’ but without the underlying data being made available.

NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government were also contacted after data on antibody testing had been quoted but was not publicly available. 

It comes as data showed the chances of surviving coronavirus after falling critically ill have increased significantly since the pandemic began.

Scientists say improved treatment has seen death rates in the most seriously ill patients fall by almost a third since the peak.

A further 12,872 people tested positive for coronavirus in the UK on Sunday as the country's daily case total stays above the 10,000 mark for an entire week

A further 12,872 people tested positive for coronavirus in the UK on Sunday as the country’s daily case total stays above the 10,000 mark for an entire week

Some 65 more people have died after testing positive for Covid-19 - nearly double the 33 deaths recorded last week

Some 65 more people have died after testing positive for Covid-19 – nearly double the 33 deaths recorded last week

UK records 12,872 new Covid cases – just 9% more than last Sunday’s adjusted total 

Britain has recorded a further 12,872 coronavirus cases today, marking a nine per cent increase on last Sunday’s adjusted total which followed the government’s extraordinary figures blunder.

Today’s not-so-drastic rise in cases could be a glimmer of light to the millions across the north of England who are bracing for a raft of draconian new lockdown measures amid fears that cases are doubling week-on-week.

It also marks a 2,294-case drop from yesterday’s daily total of 15,166. Saturday’s death toll was 81 – 16 more deaths than the 65 recorded today.

But hopes should not be raised too high as while the number is just 9.3 per cent higher than last Sunday’s figure of 11,776 – it is more than double the 5,693 daily cases recorded a fortnight ago on September 27.

Further adding to concerns is today’s 65 new recorded deaths which is nearly double the 33 deaths seen last Sunday.

This week’s figures have remained above the 10,000-mark for seven days straight – although Sunday numbers are notoriously difficult to use as comparisons due to delays in processing over the weekend. 

The figures have also been helped by more widespread testing picking up a greater number of less serious cases.

The proportion of patients dying in hospital intensive care units has fallen from around 30 per cent to below 20 per cent since April.

The fall in the death rate as a proportion of all patients admitted to hospital is even more striking – plummeting from 6 per cent at the peak to around 2 per cent now.

Professor Peter Horby, a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, welcomed the ‘good news’ amid rising case numbers.

He said increased testing and tracing capabilities combined with a ‘much better understanding of the disease’ has led to death rates among the sickest dropping to a less than a fifth. 

‘What’s great to see is that it is the risk of death in hospitalised patients is coming down,’ he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

‘It was pretty high at about 25 to 30 per cent in the last wave. And although the data are preliminary, it looks like it’s coming down and may be below 20 per cent so that’s something that is good news.’

Experts agree that treatment breakthroughs have had the most significant effect on the rate of people dying from coronavirus. 

Dexamethasone, a common steroid which costs around 50p a day, has been found to cut deaths among the sickest patients by a third.

The antiviral drug remdesivir, originally developed to tackle Ebola, has also been found to improve recovery time in the sickest patients.

Dr Horby, professor of emerging infectious diseases and global health at Oxford University, added: ‘We’ve shown that dexamethasone is really quite effective in patients who are severely ill, reducing deaths by about a third in those in ICU, which is really fantastic.

‘And so we can build on that with other anti-inflammatory drugs and we are testing those. 

‘We’ve seen that remdesivir can reduce the length of hospital stays… and we’re also learning that blood clotting is a big problem with this disease and so we’re also learning that if we can tackle that, we can improve survival.

‘So there’s a number of ways now that we better understand disease and I think we can keep improving on that.’

NHS data on the number of inpatients being treated for coronavirus and hospital deaths from Covid-19 supports the trend. Some 6 per cent of those admitted to hospitals in England with the virus died at the beginning of April.

But this figure had fallen to around 2 per cent by the start of this month, a third of the level at the peak of the crisis. In the summer, data from ICNARC – the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre – showed the risk of an intensive care patient with Covid-19 dying within 28 days dropped by at least a fifth between March and June.

And that was before effective drugs such as dexamethasone were shown to reduce deaths even further.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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