LONDON – Britain is likely to be slow to respond to the sharp rise in the number of cases of COVID-19 due to a drop in the number of cases and deaths that mean the death toll remains low, a government adviser said on Saturday.
Graham Medley, a professor of infectious diseases, said he was concerned that the country could end up in a position it was trying to avoid.
“What worries me is the backlog, the fact that we end up in an unintended position, be it the government or the people …, because the death toll now looks very low, although, as scientists say, the incidence of disease is increasing,” he told BBC Radio.
“And unfortunately that backlog means we are not doing anything immediately,” Medley, who visited the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergency (SAGE) advising the government, said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson set strict limits last week to try to stop the spread of the virus, telling people to work from home if they could and ordered that restaurants and restaurants be closed early.
Some politicians have questioned whether those measures are sufficient but, Scotland’s first prime minister, Nicola Sturgeon, told families they could not mix in. Britain is late in setting its first payment in March.
Britain already has the highest mortality rate in Europe from COVID-19, to 41,936. While about 900 people died a day in the April peak of the epidemic, the current death toll is about 30.
The Office for National Statistics said on Friday that new cases in England shot at 9,600 a day on Sunday to September 19, an increase of about 6,000 last week.
Medley said that meant death would increase in three to four weeks to about 100 deaths a day.