The UK is ‘past the peak’ of the latest Covid wave - what Chris Whitty said

Thursday, 4th February 2021, 9:44 am
Updated Thursday, 4th February 2021, 9:44 am
The UK is ‘past the peak’ of the latest Covid wave - what Chris Whitty said (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

The UK has passed the peak of the current wave of the Covid pandemic, as coronavirus cases, hospital admissions and deaths continue to fall, England’s Chief Medical Officer has said.

Professor Chris Whitty said that, “provided people continue to follow the guidelines”, all four nations were on the “downward slope”.

Infection rates remain ‘incredibly high’

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Speaking at yesterday’s (3 Feb) Downing Street press conference, the Chief Medical Officer stressed that infection rates remain “incredibly high” and underlined that, if not handled correctly, the current situation could see the NHS fall “back into trouble extraordinarily fast”.

“I think that most of my colleagues think we are past the peak,” Professor Whitty commented.

“Now, that doesn’t mean you could never have another peak. But, at this point in time, provided people continue to follow the guidelines, we’re on the downward slope of cases, of hospitalisations and of deaths, in all four of the nations of the United Kingdom.

“So, I think, we do think, at this point, this peak at least, we are past.”

Although the number of hospital emissions is still higher than numbers seen in the first peak in April last year, Professor Whitty warned that the number of deaths would “stay high for quite some time”.

There are currently more than 32,000 Covid patients still in hospital in the UK.

Coronavirus deaths remain high across the country, with 1,322 people dying within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of 3 February.

Response to viral TikTo abuse video

A video recently emerged online, showing Professor Whitty receiving abuse on the street for his handling of the pandemic.

The footage, posted on the video sharing app TikTok, saw a young man verbally abuse the scientist, accusing him of lying about Covid-19, while the Chief Medical Officer was out getting lunch in central London.

Professor Whitty said he hopes the young man becomes a “model citizen” and more like Captain Sir Tom Moore.

Speaking at the briefing, he said: “The odd young lad, showing off, occasionally happens. I didn't think anything of it frankly. I was very surprised it was picked up by the media at all as anything of any importance.”