Science Editor
A person runs past posters with messages in Manchester, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, Manchester
A person runs past posters with messages in Manchester, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, Manchester Credit: Phil Noble/Reuters

Britain could end up with the largest coronavirus death toll in Europe, an adviser on the government’s emergency pandemic group has warned, as the numbers passed 10,000 for the first time.

三级成人视频Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, who sits on the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said yesterday that the UK could see ‘one of the worst, if not the worst’ death rates on the continent.

His comments follow modelling from The Institute for Health Metrics (IHME) and Evaluation, based at the University of Washington in Seattle, which said Britain’s death toll could hit 66,000 - the highest in Europe - and far higher than the Imperial College prediction of around 20,000.

However the figures have been widely discredited, and the IHME has already been forced to revise between 26,000 and 62,500 - with a midpoint of 37,493.

Prof Sir David Spiegelhalter, Chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication, University of Cambridge, said: "We appear to be following a slightly worse trajectory than Italy and it is plausible that we might end up with the most in-hospital Covid deaths in Europe.

三级成人视频"However the IHME projections still seem unduly pessimistic, even after their recent dramatic change." 

Under the IHME figures, Italy is forecast to have the second highest death toll, at 20,000. Spain and the Netherlands are predicted to have 18,000 each and France around 16,000. 

三级成人视频Yesterday the death toll in Britain rose 10,631 after an increase of 737. 

But British scientists said the UK may end up with a large death toll simply because of population density, social structure, and demographics, all of which play a role in how quickly the virus can spread.

Prof James Naismith, Director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute and Professor of Structural Biology, University of Oxford, said: “If you look at the trajectory, we could end up worst, but it’s not a macabre competition. 

“It’s probably the case that countries with cities like London are going to be hardest hit. You see the same in America with cities like New York, which have a mass transit system, a lot of  people coming in and out, and a young population where the virus can spread silently for a while. 

“And if we have high numbers of infected people we will get high numbers of deaths.”

More than eight in 10 people live in urban areas in the UK, and a population of 66 million makes it likely that final figures will be high. But experts said it was important to look at the death rate per million, rather than the overall figure.

三级成人视频Currently Britain’s death rate is 145 per million, compared to Italy at 322, and Spain at 355. Germany is much lower at 34 after beginning an intensive programme of mass testing, contact tracing and isolation early on.

See how your area is being hit below.

Prof Keith Neal, Emeritus Professor in the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases, University of Nottingham, said: “It is likely that the UK will have one of the largest number of total deaths solely because we the second largest population in Western Europe and EU countries, only Germany has a larger population. The important figure is the death rate per million.”

Sir Jeremy told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme that Britain would need to learn lessons from how Germany controlled the epidemic.

“I do hope we’re coming close to the number of new infections reducing, and the numbers of deaths but yes the UK is likely to be one of the worst if not the worst affected country in Europe," he said.

Questioned about Sir Jeremy’s comments, Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary,  told the daily press briefing that the future of the virus was ‘unknowable’ and will depend on the behaviour of millions of Britons. “The future path of this pandemic in this country is determined by how people act and that's why it is so important that people follow the social distancing guidelines,” he said.

“Different countries are different sizes so it is difficult to make comparisons. The good news is so far we have started to see a flattening of the curve because people are following social distancing measures.”

三级成人视频Earlier Alok Sharma, the business secretary, also warned that different countries were on ‘different trajectories.’

There are also concerns that the government may be overestimating the number of people dying from coronavirus.

三级成人视频Sir Julian Brazier, a former Conservative government minister, called for a trial to determine just how many people are dying ‘with’ coronavirus rather than ‘from’ the disease.

三级成人视频“Currently, those dying of Covid-19 are not automatically given autopsies because of the additional risk to NHS staff and the precious resources involved,” he said.

“So we have little idea how many of those deaths – still predominantly among elderly people and those with other (perhaps undetected) conditions – are caused by coronavirus, and how many would have sadly happened anyway, in a country where over 12,000 people die in an average week.

“Understanding this side of the grim equation is essential to striking the right balance on lockdown measures.”