Experts claim No10 graphs showing 'scary' rise in coronavirus aren’t as bad as it appears amid second lockdown fears

EXPERTS say Downing Street's claims of a 'scary' rise in coronavirus around the country aren't accurate – and the situation may not be as bad as it first appears.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK's top scientist, today told the nation the UK's Covid-19 outbreak is doubling in size every seven days – and Brits could face 50,000 new cases of the disease every day by mid-October.

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But critics say No10 are simply trying to "scare people" before Boris Johnson unveils tougher policies tomorrow. The PM is expected to announce a new 10pm curfew for all pubs in England.

It comes as:

  • The next coronavirus hotspots are likely to include the Midlands and London, experts say
  • Coronavirus rates in 20 London boroughs are higher than in areas of England already in local lockdowns
  • The PM is plotting a Covid rules "enforcement blitzkreig" tomorrow, with eateries and bars to be shut down by patrols if they allow punters to flout the "rule of six" 
  • And people living in England could face bans on seeing their family, friends and lovers in other households again in fresh lockdown measures

Sir Patrick and Professor Chris Whitty, England's Chief Medical Officer, say infections are surging across the country – pointing to scenarios unfolding in France and Spain.

However, some scientists say the claim of 50,000 cases a day by October 13 is based on evidence not seen in Spain, France or the UK itself.

Today, Sir Patrick said: "If that continues unabated and this grows, doubling every seven days, then what you see, of course, let's say there were 5,000 today, it would be 10,000 next week, 20,000 the week after, 40,000 the week after, and you can see that by mid-October, if that continued, you would end up with something like 50,000 cases in the middle of October, per day."

That would mean around 200 deaths every day, he said.

Whats really happening in the UK, France and Spain?

The Government’s top coronavirus experts today said the UK is on a similar path to France and Spain – but other academics say they’re wrong.

Spain is recording 14,740 new infections every day – up from 13,470 last week.

This week's new infections is double those recorded five weeks ago.

On August 14, 5,690 cases were confirmed.

And in France, the rolling average of daily cases has doubled in three weeks – from 5,167 at the end of August to 10,381 yesterday.

In the UK, 3,929 new infections are being recorded each day on average.

That's up from 2,998 last Monday and 2,032 the week before that.

It shows – from the Government's own data – that confirmed cases are doubling every fortnight.

That suggests Britain will not see 50,000 cases every day by mid-October.

Experts say that even if 50,000 new cases a day is correct, it would still be fewer than half as many infections as the UK saw in March and April.

It's believed more than 100,000 people were newly infected every day during the peak of the crisis.

However, this is not backed up by testing figures, as not enough facilities were then available.

Professor Karol Sikora, a cancer doctor and former World Health Organisation director, told MailOnline today: "They’re so negative.

"The graph for the worst case scenario, for 50,000 cases a day by next month, it’s just scaring people.  

"It seems unlikely to me we will have 50,000 infections by mid-October.

"The other possibility is there will be only 5,000 cases a day. Do we really need a two week lockdown to prevent that? I don’t think we do. 



"If we continue exactly as we are, I think we are doing better than France.

"I think we’ll get out of this without a huge number of people being ill.

"France are already coming out the peak and they are two to three weeks ahead of us.

"It’s important we take things seriously, but what worries me is they will rush into a two-week lockdown, mainly because it does not move us forward."

And Professor David Paton, an industrial economist at the University of Nottingham, said France and Spain are seeing cases double every three weeks.

If a similar situation occurred in the UK, there would be more like 7,000 to 8,000 new cases per day by mid-October – and the "very strange scenario" doesn't appear to be "based on any particular modelling".

It comes as dozens of top medics, scientists, economists and public health experts write to the Prime Minister to beg him not to announce a second lockdown.



The medics – led by the head of the Oxford Centre for Evidence Based Medicine Professor Carl Heneghan – have urged the PM to change the Government's strategy for fighting Covid-19. 

They want him to ditch blanket lockdown measures and instead target measures at the most vulnerable. 

It comes as speculation grows that the PM will introduce tougher measures across the nation from tomorrow.

But the boffins have warned fresh nationwide measures risk imposing “significant harm across all age groups, which likely offsets any benefits”.

FEARS OF SECOND LOCKDOWN AS BORIS ANNOUNCES PUB CURFEW

The letter, signed by 32 leading scientists, medics and academics, calls on the Government to “step back” and “fundamentally reconsider the path forward".

Tory MPs have also spoken out against sweeping coronavirus laws too, and accused the Government of treating the nation like children.

The 32 professors who penned the letter to the PM today include public health experts, GPs, intensive care specialists, epidemiologists, cancer experts, economists and sociologists.

Urging the PM to change his Covid strategy, they wrote: “In summary, our view is that the existing policy path is inconsistent with the known risk-profile of Covid-19 and should be reconsidered."

Meanwhile, influential Tory MP Sir Graham Brady signalled that ministers could face backbench resistance if they try to introduce new lockdown measures without proper scrutiny in Parliament.

He said ministers had "got into the habit of ruling by decree", adding: "The British people are not used to being treated like children."

The Government has faced resistance from the new 'rule of six' too – with MPs urging the PM not to include children.


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