UK is NOT seeing second coronavirus wave 'these are just ripples from the first'August 3, 2020
BRITAIN is not seeing a second wave of the coronavirus as experts claim a recent surge in cases are "ripples from the first".
A leading expert has claimed that mini-outbreaks are a result of the first epidemic not being flattened in the first instance.
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Professor Tim Spector, an epidemiologist based at King's College London said recent flare ups are due to the lifting of lockdown restrictions in England when the virus was still rife.
So far in the UK more than 46,000 people have died in hospitals from the coronavirus and over recent months the daily death tolls reported by NHS England have dropped.
Cases have spiked in some areas – resulting in local lockdowns.
Last month, Leicester was the first area in the UK to be placed under local lockdown and on Thursday further restrictions were announced in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and East Lancashire.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme Prof Spector said places like Scotland made sure infections were down before reopening and said the issues in northern England are not new.
He said: "Basically these [outbreaks in the north] are continuing ripples from the first wave.
"Unlike other countries, we didn’t manage to get levels much below 2,000 cases a day [before easing restrictions, so we’re just seeing this increase."
He also added that a lot of "on the spot" testing is being done, which may change how case loads are perceived.
"Public health officials suspect outbreaks then lots of testing is done in those particular regions, or factories or wherever it is.
"And those produce these rather sporadic reports that show certain areas popping up a lot, like what’s happened in the Manchester areas.
"Our data hasn’t shown any massive spikes, it’s just creeping up everywhere and the north has had twice as many cases as the south."
His comments come after Professor Karol Sikora warned that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his advisers should stop using the term “second wave” as it fuels fears that the country is heading towards wide scale partial lockdowns.
The former World Health Organisation (WHO) adviser said panic at this stage was not “just foolish”, but also “unnecessary”.
Prof Sikora said that this created “the wrong atmosphere” and said the term “second wave” is deterring people from returning to work.
Writing in the Daily Mail he said: “It deters people from even thinking about a return to normal working – which is the only way the economy can recover.
“It is also inaccurate: we are not witnessing a second wave or even the beginnings of one. We are seeing geographically separated, localised spikes. We also know why they are happening, and to whom.
“These postcode blips are overwhelmingly in communities where strong family values mean households are large, and often comprise three, or sometimes four, generations with all the attendant comings and goings.”
Prof Sikora, who is professor of medicine at the University of Buckingham Medical School, said there are other factors to consider such as a greater genetic susceptibility to the virus.
He said the communities that are seeing an increase in case numbers may also have a higher than average prevalence of conditions such as diabetes.
Prof Sikora added that these outbreaks can be flattened with “targeted measures”.
He cited Leicester as an example of one place where case numbers began to decline rapidly after action was taken on a local level.
Prof Sikora added that there should be “some confidence in our ability” to tackle the virus and said too much prominence has been given to the views and opinions of epidemiologists – which he says have been of a “pessimistic stripe”
He said that this leaves out other considerations such as what the long term economic impact will be for the country if we continue on this trajectory.
During his time at the WHO, Prof Sikora became chief of its cancer programme.
He said that the fact that many people have been reluctant to visit their GPs as well as the “collapse” of the NHS diagnostic framework has meant that tens of thousands of people who may have survived cancer may die.
He added: “I don't wish to depress or alarm anyone, but we cannot ignore that there are grave consequences to the excessive countermeasures being taken to control a virus which is statistically unlikely to kill anyone except the very old, and those at greater risk because of a pre-existing condition.”
Prof Sikora added that it was “particularly stupid” that Professor Graham Medley – a senior government adviser, said that if schools reopen pubs may need to shut in a so-called trade off.
He said that these two options are not related and that such rhetoric spreads alarm and confusion.
Prof Sikora added that the nation “cannot afford any further signs of a lack of grip or nerve”.
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