COVID cases in UK unlikely to get much lower than now, warns Jonathan Van Tam

Jimmy Nsubuga
·2-min read
Britain's Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England Jonathan Van-Tam gives an update on the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic during a virtual press conference inside the new Downing Street Briefing Room in central London on April 28, 2021. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth / POOL / AFP) (Photo by KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England Jonathan Van-Tam gives an update on COVID. (Getty)

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam has indicated COVID-19 cases in the UK are unlikely to get much lower than they are now.

During a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday, he said the number of cases was "close to the bottom".

The UK has recorded a further 2,166 new cases and 29 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.

The death toll from the disease stands at 127,480, with 4,411,797 infections.

Watch: Coronavirus deaths in UK rise by 29

Professor Van-Tam showed a chart of the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 in the UK, from 1 September through to late April.

He said: “Very visible indeed is that very large third wave that we had peaking in mid-January and you can see now that we are really in very low levels that are comparable to where we were in September last year.

“We're running at a typical seven-day average, just over two thousand people testing positive per day.

“My sense is that probably we are at, or close to, the bottom at the moment in terms of this level of disease in the UK.”

Prof Van-Tam, who seemed to be spelling out what living with the virus would look like, said “there's a little further to run in terms of reductions in the total number of people in hospital with the virus but this number was also close to the bottom".

He added the number of deaths from the virus, though regrettable, put the UK in a different place to “those dark first few weeks of 2021”.

Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock gives an update on the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic during a virtual press conference inside the new Downing Street Briefing Room in central London on April 28, 2021. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth / POOL / AFP) (Photo by KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announces a new deal for Pfizer vaccines. (Getty)

Prof Van-Tam said the reduction in cases and deaths had been down to the efforts of the British people adhering to the lockdown and the successful vaccine rollout.

He said: “Now, the vaccine has undoubtedly helped in the later stages and there's good evidence that the death rate in the elderly has dropped faster than it has in the younger age groups and it's dropped faster than it did in the second wave.

“And that is undoubtedly a vaccine effect. But what is really important about these vaccines and about the vaccine rollout, that it really is the way out of getting into trouble of the same size and magnitude ever again.

“And that's why it's important that this job must get finished.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock also announced the UK had secured an extra 60 million Pfizer vaccine doses which would be used as booster jabs later this year.

Watch: How England will leave lockdown