A Communist-supporting advisor has claimed that ‘lameduck’ will ‘sit on their hands’ and ‘let Covid rip’ as virus cases are set to hit 350,000 every day next week.
Susan Michie, the Professor of Health Psychology at University College London, warned new variants that are ‘even more infectious’ will lead to unnecessary deaths and hospitalisations.
More than 2.7million Britons were infected with Covid last week and the Office for National Statistics () weekly infection survey found up to one in 16 people in the worst-hit parts of the UK were carrying the virus in the week ending June 29 as cases rose nationally by about a fifth.
Professor Michie told : ‘We don’t have a public health policy for Covid right now and if we don’t act, we’ll get variants that are even more infectious and these will lead to increased hospitalisations and deaths.
‘The number of people with long Covid will increase significantly beyond the current two million and the country will be continuously disrupted with some sectors in danger of grinding to a standstill in the Autumn.
‘The government’s policy seems to be, “Shut your eyes and let it rip”.
But the NHS is on its knees and public health experts, SAGE and Independent SAGE have been predicting this since July last year, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise.’
Susan Michie, the Professor of Health Psychology at University College London, warned new variants that are ‘even more infectious’ will lead to unnecessary deaths and hospitalisations
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) weekly infection survey found more than 2.7million Britons were infected with Covid last week
On Friday, rail operators including TransPennine Express and Avanti West Coast warned they will have to cancel services due to staff shortages – with the former blaming ‘continued increased levels’ of sickness amid spiking Covid rates.
And the most recent official Department for Education estimates revealed that 6.5 per cent of teachers and school leaders were absent for any reason from open schools on June 23, up from 5.5 per cent on June 9 – while the figure for teaching assistants and other staff was 5.5 per cent on June 23, up from 5 per cent on June 9.
The Association of School and College Leaders chief Geoff Barton said schools are ‘being hit by staff and pupil absence caused by Covid’ while accepting that ‘we need as a society to learn to live with Covid’; and medical groups said the latest wave of infections was ‘adding enormous pressure on an already overstretched service’.
Meanwhile GP practices in London, Cambridgeshire and Devon have warned of severe staff absences, with the latter’s local medical committee issuing its first ever county-wide ‘red alert’ amid escalating pressure on services.
Hospitality chiefs are also concerned – with Night Time Industries Association boss Michael Kill saying businesses must ‘tread carefully’ amid concerns that the Government ‘could plunge us into uncertainty at any point’.
Covid staff sickness has caused misery for Britons during previous waves of the pandemic, including at Christmas when there were mass rail cancellations, cancelled operations, school closures and overflowing rubbish bins.
Friday’s ONS report found the share of people testing positive for Covid continued to increase in all age groups and regions, with rates highest among 25 to 34-year-olds and 50 to 69-year-olds.
Britain’s fifth wave is being driven by the sub-strains BA.4 and BA.5, with the latter regarded as the most infectious variant of the virus yet. But they are both as mild as their parent strain, which has meant ICU admissions and deaths have remained flat despite cases rising for weeks.
Total hospital admissions are climbing, with patient levels nearing the peak reached during the previous wave of infections in spring.
However, only a fraction are primarily ill with the virus, suggesting the rise is a reflection of high rates of transmission in the community, rather than severe disease.
And police forces appear to have avoided any recent issues, with a source telling MailOnline that there are no absence issues or Covid impacts being reported at a national level – and a ‘normal service’ is still being provided.
Around 2.1m — the equivalent of one in 25 — had the virus in England alone (shown), which was up from one in 30 the previous week
MailOnline analysis shows how the rate of severe illness from Covid has fallen over time.
At the beginning of the pandemic, one per cent of all people infected with the virus (based on the Office for National Statistics infection rate) required mechanical ventilation within two weeks. But most recent NHS bed occupancy rates show just 0.015 per cent of those infected are admitted to an ICU bed – 100 times fewer than the start of the pandemic
The ONS estimated that 2.15million people had the virus in England last week, the equivalent of one in 25 — up from one in 30 the previous week.
In Wales, the figure was 149,700, or one in 20, and in Northern Ireland it was 98,400, or one in 19. Scotland had the highest rates with one in 17 believed to have been infected, one in 17. Today’s national infection estimate is the highest number since late April, at the end of the BA.2 wave that saw cases soar to record highs
The percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus has continued to increase in all age groups and regions in England.
Prevalence of Covid-19 is estimated to be highest among 25 to 34-year-olds and 50 to 69-year-olds, where 4.7%, one in 20, were likely to have had the virus last week. The next highest estimate was for people from school year 12 to age 24, at 4.6%
Every region of England recorded an increase in infections last week, with rates now highest in London — with 4.3% of the entire population estimated to have been infected.
It was followed by the North West and North East — 4.2% and 4.1% respectively
And Linda Hausmanis, chief executive of the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management, told MailOnline: ‘At a time when thousands of us are jetting off to destinations with far higher infection rates, it is hard to argue that British offices are not amongst the safest places to be in the world today.
It is right that employers and employees continue to take a precautionary approach, and to continue to isolate if they test positive. However, with effective ventilation and cleaning protocols in place, most offices and workplaces are among our safest spaces.’
Michael Kill, ackack.net chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, told MailOnline: ‘We are still having challenges with Covid absences within the workforce, but it would be somewhat short sighted to think that given the Covid measures put in place by the Government last year, both in legislation and public rhetoric, we are able to risk lowering our guard further.
‘We have learnt to live with the virus in many respects, but as one of the sectors at the sharpest end, we have to tread carefully in the knowledge that policy makers could plunge us into uncertainty at any point, and according to freedom of information requests for little or no reason, which would be catastrophic for the sector.
<div class="art-ins mol-factbox health halfRHS" data-version="2" id="mol-f948edf0-ffe6-11ec-ba52-55a458cd081f" website Michie says Tories will 'sit on their hands' and 'let Covid rip'