UK health secretary claims rise in Covid-19 cases is ‘very serious problem’
An uptick in coronavirus cases poses severe difficulties for the United Kingdom, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has claimed. The warning comes amid growing scrutiny over how the health crisis has been handled.
Hancock sounded the alarm over the growing number of positive Covid-19 test results, as well as an increase in daily hospitalizations.
“It is a challenge, and everybody will have seen, from the rising case rates and unfortunately the rising hospitalization rates which have risen really quite sharply in the last week or so, that we have got a very serious problem on our hands,” the health minister said on Wednesday.
He said that the challenge is to contain the “second peak” of the virus while causing “as little damage as possible,” likely in reference to lockdowns and other extreme measures put in place to stop the spread of the illness.
On Tuesday, the UK registered 14,542 new coronavirus cases, nearly 2,000 more than the 24-hour total reported the day before. The country also saw 76 new Covid-related deaths.
In England, the most up-to-date figures revealed a 25 percent increase in new hospital admissions from Saturday to Sunday.
But not everyone agrees the situation is as dire as Hancock says. The UK’s public broadcaster opted for reassuring language when describing the data. In a series of tweets, BBC Policy Editor Lewis Goodall broke down the latest figures, noting that new hospitalizations are still just a fraction of what they were at the peak of the health crisis in April.
If we look at hospitalisation, we're seeing a less dramatic increase but nonetheless, a sustained one. Here's hospitalisation numbers for England. Clearly, compared to cases, this is something of a lagging indicator but trend is clear. pic.twitter.com/xF4PygVEt4— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) October 6, 2020
He confirmed that cases and hospital admissions show a “sustained uptick,” but cautioned against unwarranted alarmism.
“None of this means things are out of control. Hospital admissions are nowhere near out of control and clearly not rising nearly as fast as cases (or as fast as spring),” he wrote.
Hancock has been one of the most adamant supporters of stay-at-home orders and other controversial measures designed to contain the virus. Last month he was widely criticized for saying that he would report his neighbors to the police if he knew they were violating Covid-19 guidelines.
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