Great Britain

Govt scientists predict second covid wave could be deadly than first with ‘lower but longer peak’ death toll over winter

GOVERNMENT scientists have predicted that the second Covid-19 wave could be even more deadly than the first with a "lower but longer peak."

Downing Street is supposedly working on the assumption that the death toll during the second wave this winter is going to be worse than what Britain experienced in the spring.

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While the death rate is set to peak at a lower number than what we saw earlier in 2020 - deaths are set to stay at the same level for weeks or even months on end.

If the analysis of the second wave is correct, it will mean that the coronavirus death toll could stay steady for longer than it did in March and April.

A source told the Telegraph: "It's going to be worse this time, more deaths.

"That is the projection that has been put in front of the Prime Minister, and he is now being put under a lot of pressure to lockdown again."

The analysis from Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has caused government advisors to push Boris Johnson to take more drastic measures to control the virus.

The Sun has also learned that the ­latest government modelling overseen by chief scientist Sir Patrick Vallance shows more than 25,000 will be in hospital with the virus by the end of November.

This comes as Britain has suffered its highest daily Covid death toll for more than five months yesterday - after 367 more people lost their lives to the virus.

Another 22,885 people have also tested positive for coronavirus overnight as the country battles a second spike.

Yesterday's deaths figure means, on average, 200 coronavirus deaths have been reported every day in the UK over the last week.

Dr Yvonne Doyle, the medical director of Public Health England, said: "We continue to see the trend in deaths rising, and it is likely this will continue for some time.

"Each day we see more people testing positive and hospital admissions increasing.

"Being seriously ill enough from the infection to need hospital admission can sadly lead to more Covid-related deaths."

Last week, the UK recorded its biggest ever infection rise of 26,688 on Wednesday.

In Scotland, where a new five-stage lockdown plan has been revealed, 1,327 new cases were recorded, and 25 more people died.

And in Wales, which is on the fourth full day of a national firebreak lockdown, 1,207 people have tested positive overnight - and seven more have died with the virus.

What is herd immunity?

Herd immunity refers to where enough people in a population have immunity to an infection to be able to effectively stop that disease from spreading.

Herd immunity is typically best achieved with vaccination.

While the term herd immunity is widely used, it can carry a variety of meanings.

The NHS outlines “herd immunity” as when enough people in a community are vaccinated against a disease, making it more difficult for it to spread to susceptible individuals who have not yet been or cannot be vaccinated.

Academics from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine wrote that while some use the term to describe the proportion of individuals in a community who are immune to a condition, others use it in reference to “a particular threshold proportion of immune individuals that should lead to a decline in incidence of infection”.

They added: “A common implication of the term is that the risk of infection among susceptible individuals in a population is reduced by the presence and proximity of immune individuals.”

So far Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire, Lancashire, Liverpool City region, Warrington, Nottingham and parts of Nottinghamshire have all been pushed into the highest level of Covid restrictions.

However, a new study has suggested that Britain is "miles off" achieving coronavirus herd immunity.

Scientists at Imperial College London said immunity is “waning” and noted a 26 per cent drop in positive antibody tests in three months.

In a briefing with journalists, Professor Helen Ward, who worked on the study, said their findings suggest the UK is a "long way" from reaching herd immunity.

She said: "Even at best, (in the first round of the study) 94 per cent of the population remained not likely protected, and now that has declined to over 95 per cent of the population who don't have evidence of antibodies.

"So I think we are a long, long way from any idea that the population will be protected by other people."

On Tuesday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Europe's daily Covid deaths had risen by almost 40 per cent in a week.

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