Britain could be moving too slowly to tackle the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases because of a lag between case numbers and deaths which means fatalities have remained relatively low, a government adviser said.
Graham Medley, a professor of infectious disease modelling, said he was concerned that the country could end up in a position it had tried to avoid.
Unfortunately, he told BBC radio, that lag means that we don’t act soon enough, Medley said, who is a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) which advises the government.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has imposed tougher restrictions in the last week to try to curb the spread of the virus, telling people to work from home if they can and ordering pubs and restaurants to close earlier.
Some politicians have questioned whether those measures go far enough however, with the first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, telling households they also cannot mix indoors. Britain was slow to impose its first lockdown in March.
Medley said SAGE had not discussed what impact the policy of closing hospitality services earlier would have on infection rates.
Britain already has the highest death toll in Europe from COVID-19, at 41,936. While around 900 people died a day at the April peak of the pandemic, current death rates are around 30.
The Office for National Statistics said yesterday that new cases in England had shot up to around 9,600 per day in the week to Sept. 19, up from around 6 thousand the previous week.
Medley said that meant deaths would rise in three to four weeks to around 100 deaths a day.