The UK could face 50,000 coronavirus cases a day by mid-October and 200 daily deaths in November if the current rate of infection is not halted.
In a clear sign more restrictions were coming, Sir Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance today warned the crisis was at a “critical point” and could stay that way for at least six months.
Speaking at a televised briefing without the Prime Minister, they explained the virus was spreading through all parts of Britain and growing in every different age group.
Sir Patrick Vallance said: “In every age group we have seen an increase.
“It is now estimated that roughly 70,000 people in the UK have Covid infection and that about 6,000 people per day are getting the infection.
“If that continues unabated and this grows doubling every seven days then what you see is, by mid October we would end up with something like 50,000 cases per day.
“As it spreads across age groups we expect to see an increase in hospitalisations and unfortunately those increases in hospitalisations will lead to an increase in deaths.”
Sir Patrick also warned the current trend could see 200 people a day hospitalised by the middle of next month.
The Chief Scientific Adviser claimed the timing of the surge meant the infection rate could soon go from “small numbers to really very large numbers.”
He explained:“We have in a bad sense, literally turned a corner, although only relatively recently.
“At this point, the seasons are against us, we are now going into the seasons, late autumn and winter, which benefit respiratory viruses and it is very likely they will benefit Covid as they do flu.”
Professor Whitty urged the public to do their bit to battle the Covid, suggesting it was a national battle to end the crisis.
He explained: "This is not someone else's problem, this is all of our problems.
“We must see this as a six month problem – we have to take this collectively very seriously.”
Boris Johnson is expected to make a speech unveiling new restrictions to combat the virus in the coming days, with Downing Street warningthe UK is in “last chance saloon”.
Today Sir Patrick suggested the changes could see the public ordered to stay away from social interactions.
He said: "The way that we reduce the spread is by limiting our number of contacts, by reducing contact in environments where spread is more likely-those are crowded environments, indoor environments, poorventilation - and making sure that we reduce the probability of coming into contact with anyone who is infectious."
It comes as the Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman suggested a new Scots Covid lockdown "may need to last six months".
The prospect of tougher new restrictions now appears likely after 545 positive cases emerged in Scotland over the weekend.
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