The United Kingdom could hit 50,000 new coronavirus cases per day by mid-October, leading to 200 or more coronavirus deaths a day by mid-November, the country's chief scientific adviser said on Tuesday.
"At the moment, we think that the epidemic is doubling roughly every seven days," U.K. Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said at a news conference. "Of course, the challenge, therefore, is to make sure that the doubling time does not stay at seven days. There are already things in place which are expected to slow that."
At the same news conference, U.K. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said the coming months could be worse than a bad flu season, with more than 20,000 deaths.
"The seasons are against us. We're now going in to the seasons, late autumn and winter, which benefit respiratory viruses," Whitty said. “This virus is more virulent than flu, so the numbers people talk about are not unreasonable numbers for us to be thinking about."
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives for a service to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain at Westminster Abbey, London, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. (Aaron Chown/Pool Photo via AP)
The government implemented “the rule of six” earlier this week that limits gatherings to six people, along with a number of other local lockdowns in an effort to stop the increase in infections the country has seen in recent weeks.
“We want to keep schools open, that’s going to happen, we’re going to try and keep all parts of the economy open as far as we possibly [can] — I don’t think anyone wants to go into a second lockdown, but clearly when you look at what is happening, you’ve got to wonder whether we need to go further than the rule of six that we brought in on Monday,” he said.
A survey released by the Office for National Statistics found that an average of 6,000 in England were estimated to have been infected between Sept. 4-10, about double the previous week.
Meanwhile, the U.K. registered 27 deaths on Friday, bringing the total number of deaths to 41,732.
Fox News' Adam Shaw and the Associated Press contributed to this report.