UK was hit with '100,000 cases a day’ at height of pandemic

The UK was likely being hit with 100,000 coronavirus cases a day at the height of the pandemic, the Government’s top scientist has admitted.

Tuesday marked the highest number of daily cases the country had ever recorded with 7,143 people being diagnosed. Today also marked the second time confirmed cases had jumped above 7,000 with 7,108 infections discovered

Chief Scientific Advisor Patrick Vallance confessed the current situation ‘is not under control’ at a Government press conference today – but warned it is impossible to compare infection rates to March as testing is now more widely available.

He said figures reported earlier in the year were ‘almost certainly a very big underestimate of the total’ and the real figure would probably be around 100,000 new cases on some days in March and April.

Mr Vallance said: ‘As Chris has laid out today, we are seeing quite fast growth in some areas of the country.

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‘Unfortunately, as we’ve seen, not only are cases going up, we’re already seeing an increase in deaths. So things are definitely headed in the wrong direction.

‘I do want to make one comment though which is quite important. The number of cases that we’re seeing now are picked up because there’s much more testing.

‘The number of cases reported in March were almost certainly a very big underestimate of the total.

‘So it’s much more likely that back in March and April, at the peak of this, we were seeing over 100,000 cases a day at certain times. Whereas of course, you were only able to measure and report a fraction of that.’

It comes as the UK death toll jumps to 42,143 after another 71 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours.

The prime minister warned people can’t ‘throw in the sponge’ now ‘no matter how impatient or fed up’ they may be on Wednesday.

Boris Johnson has asked people to keep following restrictions, warning ‘costly’ measures will be needed if coronavirus continues to spread.

He said: ‘I have to be clear that if the evidence requires it, we will not hesitate to take further measures that would, I’m afraid, be more costly than the ones we have put into effect now.

‘But if we put in the work together now, then we give ourselves the best possible chance of avoiding that outcome and avoiding further measures.’

England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has also cautioned the country has a ‘long winter ahead of us’, as there is a ‘significant uptick’ in the number of Covid-19 patients entering hospital and being admitted to the ICU.

The figures are currently at a much lower level than the beginning of April but ‘definitely heading the wrong way’, he said.

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