England’s chief medical officer delivered an ominous warning as the UK marks one year since the first lockdown. Professor Whitty gave an update this afternoon to delegates as he addressed the Public Health Conference.
He warned the UK is set to experience “lots of bumps and twists on the road” and there will “definitely be another surge” of infections.
Professor Whitty added he was unsure whether the next wave would strike before the winter season and highlighted concerns over new COVID-19 variants and vaccine shortages.
He said: “There are going to be lots of bumps and twists on the road from here on in.
“There will definitely be another surge at some point whether it’s before winter or next winter, we don’t know.
“Variants are going to cause problems, there will be stockouts of vaccines and no doubt there will be multiple problems at a national level but also at a local level – school outbreaks, prison outbreaks, all those things that people are dealing with on a day-to-day basis.”
Earlier this afternoon people across the country fell silent to mark the first anniversary of the first coronavirus lockdown – where Boris Johnson first echoed his “stay at home” message.
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 126,000 people have died in the UK after testing positive for COVID-19.
This evening, Britons are encouraged to stand at their doorsteps with phones, candles and torches to signify a “beacon of remembrance”.
At the conference, Professor Whitty admitted the Government and experts did not know enough about the virus at this time last year.
The leading medic acknowledged the “fundamental problem was we simply didn’t know what we were dealing with”.
Professor Whitty admitted the scale of the pandemic only dawned when Britons began dying in hospital sand insisted if the current testing system would have been in place they would have been better placed to predict the spread of the virus.
He added: “We only realised quite how fast the way it was developing at the point when people started dying in hospitals, basically.
“If we had the kind of testing system we have now, we’d have spotted this wave far further out in time and been able to judge it far more carefully.
“I think the difference in timing would have been relatively small but it might have been significant.”
More to follow