Coronavirus outbreak could last until next spring and hospitalise 7.9 million
According to a Public Health England briefing seen by Sky News, the COVID-19 pandemic could see up to 7.9 million people infected with the coronavirus over the next year.
Whereas Professor Chris Witty, Chief medical officer for England, has previously said that, in a worst-case scenario, up to 80% of the population could catch the virus, the PHE briefing has said that:
“up to 15% [7.9 million people] may require hospitalisation”.
The document also shows that healthcare workers who have symptoms of COVID-19 could potentially not all be tested for the virus.
Speaking on the UK’s intensive care system, a doctor has said that it is:
“adequate for day-to-day but not really equipped for the expected epidemic”.
“Laboratory capacity is growing steadily but remains under significant demand pressures,” it said.
Dr. Susan Hopkins, deputy director of PHE’s national infection service, said:
“PHE used reasonable worse-case scenario figures, to restate the importance for people with symptoms to stay at home, including health care workers in order to reduce the spread of the virus.”
The document says the virus could circulate until next spring.
The government has called on UK businesses increase production of vital medical equipment including ventilators.
The Prime Minister has been in discussion with British manufacturers to set out what they can do to help in the fight against the current epidemic.
A Downing Street spokesperson has said: “Preparing for the spread of the coronavirus outbreak is a national priority and we’re calling on the manufacturing industry and all those with relevant expertise who might be able to help to come together to help the country tackle this national crisis.”