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14 Jul, 2020 15:17

Second coming of coronavirus to kill 120,000 people in UK, twice as many as current one, British scientists warn

Second coming of coronavirus to kill 120,000 people in UK, twice as many as current one, British scientists warn

The death toll from a second wave of Covid-19 could reach 120,000 in the UK, twice as many as the current outbreak has claimed so far, a group of 37 scientists from the British Academy of Medical Sciences warns.

The second wave might hit in winter, during a “normal” flu season, said the group which comprises experts in infectious diseases, public health, statistics, meteorology and primary care.

The virus reproduction rate has now lowered down to 0.8 but is expected to skyrocket up to 1.7 in September, reaching its peak in January and lasting until June.

Winters usually see a sharp increase in diseases such as asthma, heart attacks and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, even in the absence of coronavirus. With the Covid-19 second wave, Britain’s ailing healthcare system – the NHS – might collapse under their combined burden, the experts warn.

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The scientists offered no new remedy to stop the coronavirus spread apart from already implemented ones, such as social distancing, wearing face masks and lockdowns.

The UK government is starting to tighten up anti-coronavirus measures again. Masks have already been made compulsory on public transport in England since mid-June. Starting July 24, a refusal to wear a mask in England’s supermarkets will be subject to hefty fines (£100).

Meanwhile, in Scotland the use of face coverings in shops has been mandatory since July 10. Shoppers in Wales and Northern Ireland are not currently required to wear them. However, in Wales the coverings will be mandatory on public transport from July 27.

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The UK has the highest mortality rate in the world (67.54 on 100,000), followed by the US, according to Johns Hopkins University. As of Monday, there have been more than 290,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and 44,915 people have died, the figures show.

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