Vallance warns of ‘pretty grim period’ after Covid daily deaths record

The country is “in for a pretty grim period” of coronavirus deaths, the Government’s top scientist has warned, as the daily reported death toll reached a new high.

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said “we’re in a period of high death numbers” which will not “reduce quickly”.

Speaking to ITV’s Peston programme, Sir Patrick said: “The daily numbers jump around a bit but I think we are in a position now – when you look at the number of infections we’ve had over the past few weeks and how this is likely to continue, so I don’t think they’re going to drop very quickly – that I’m afraid we’re in a period of high death numbers that’s going to carry on for some weeks.

“It’s not going to come down quickly even if the measures that are in place now start to reduce the infection numbers.

“So we’re in for a pretty grim period, I’m afraid.”

According to Government data, there were 1,564 deaths recorded within 28 days of a positive test on Wednesday, the highest figure reported in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic.

The latest figures mean the grim milestone of more than 100,000 deaths involving coronavirus has now been passed in the UK, according to official data.

In the interview, which will air on Wednesday night, Sir Patrick did not rule out the need for more restrictions to help bring infection rates down but said current rules are having some impact on the numbers.

Coronavirus – Wed Dec 9, 2020
Coronavirus – Wed Dec 9, 2020

He explained: “I think we follow these, the evidence we have so far is this is beginning to work, holding it flat, beginning to potentially push it down.

“We need to monitor it and you know it may be that we need more on top of this at some point, I’m absolutely not ruling that out.

“It may be that we need more on top of this, and I think those obviously are decisions that ministers would need to make.

“But I think at the moment the evidence is that this is having an effect.”