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Patrick Vallance warns of high number of deaths from COVID for weeks

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People pass by a government sign 'Stay at home Save your life' on Commercial Road in Portsmouth during England's third national blockade to curb the spread of the coronavirus.  (Photo by Andrew Matthews / PA Images via Getty Images)
People pass by a COVID warning sign on Commercial Road in Portsmouth. (Getty)

A rather bleak period for COVID will see the death toll rise for weeks, the senior government scientist has warned.

Speaking on the day that the daily reported number of deaths reached a new peak, chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said they were in a period of high death tolls which will not decrease quickly.

According to government data, there were 1,564 deaths recorded within 28 days of a positive test on Wednesday, the highest figure reported in a single day since the pandemic began.

The latest figures suggest a bleak history of more than 100,000 deaths involving coronavirus has now moved to the UK, according to official data.

Speaking to ITVs Peston program, Vallance said: Daily numbers jump a bit, but I think we are in a position now when you look at the number of infections we have had in recent weeks and how this is likely to continue, so I do not think I will to fall too fast because I fear they were in a period with high death tolls that would continue for several weeks.

It will not decrease quickly even if the measures that have now been put in place begin to reduce the number of infections.

So they were in a rather gloomy period, I’m afraid.

Vallance comments come just days after the chief medical officer Chris Whitty warns UK has not yet reached the peak of the current wave of COVID infections, with the coming weeks being the worst pandemic for the NHS.

During a telephone conversation on the BBC about the current high levels of issues, Whitty said: I do not think they were still at the peak, I am afraid.

Look: The coming weeks will be the worst for the NHS, says Chris Whitty

He said the new variant of the coronavirus was causing a significant problem, adding: We will pass together, but at this point in time they were at the worst point of the epidemic for the UK.

Despite gloomy forecasts, Boris Johnson noted the figures showing promising signs of a drop in hospital admissions.

According to NHS England statistics cited by the Health Service Journal (HSJ), hospital admissions of patients who tested positive for coronavirus in London and the South East have fallen for the first time since Christmas.

A pedestrian walks past a COVID-19 information display board outside Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool, North West England, on January 7, 2021 as the Caretaker Clap resumed as 'Clap for Heroes', to show thanks to key workers, including the NHS Britain (National Health Service) staff and other front-line medical personnel, for their work during the coronavirus pandemic.  Medical chiefs in England rushed to increase treatment capacity on Thursday as an increase in coronavirus cases threatened overwhelming hospitals, even as the government stepped up its mass inoculation campaign.  (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY / AFP via Getty Images)
Hospital admissions in some parts of the country have dropped slightly. (Getty)

Commenting on the encouraging figures, the Prime Minister told the Commons on Wednesday: Now we are seeing and it is very important to emphasize that these are the first days now we are seeing the beginnings of some signs that [lockdown] has begun to have an effect in many parts of the country, but by no means everywhere.

Vallance also said the current rules are having little impact on numbers.

While not ruling out further restrictions, Vallance said: “I think we are pursuing these, the evidence we have so far is that this has started to work, keeping it flat, starting to potentially push it down.

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 13: Raindrops fall on socially distant signs on roads near the Manchester Desert during the three-lane block on 13 January 2021 in Manchester, UK.  On Monday 4 January England entered its third blockade due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  Schools and colleges shifted to online learning, mingling with people outside homes and bubbles were curtailed and non-essential food stores closed.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong / Getty Images)
Raindrops fall on social distance signs on roads near the Manchester desert during blockage three. (Getty)

We need to monitor it and you know you may need more about this at some point, I absolutely do not rule it out.

It may be that we need more about this, and I think those are definitely decisions that ministers will have to make.

But I think at the moment the evidence is that this is working.

Look: What you can do and what you can not do during England’s third national blockade

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