The next Covid-19 peak could be as serious as the last, the UK’s former chief scientific advisor said.
Sir David King issued a stark warning ahead of winter about the spike in new infections which has seen cases reaching around 40,000 in recent days.
It comes as 49,156 daily cases were recorded on Monday in the highest figure since mid-July and 43,738 new infections were reported on Tuesday.
Speaking to Sky News on Tuesday, the top scientist said the Covid-19 infections were rising to another peak.
“The disease is rising to another peak, and this peak could be as serious as the last,” he told Kay Burley.
He added: “What is the danger we are faced with? We are seeing it already. The number of new cases a day, at close to 40,000 per day.”
The former chief scientific advisor questioned why people weren’t choosing to wear masks while travelling when it was a “very simple operation”.
He said: “When I get into a train or an underground, I don’t see everybody wearing a mask. It is a very simple operation. We got over any fear of wearing masks. Why aren’t we still requiring people to travel with masks?”
A further 223 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday which brought the UK total to 138,629.
Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics show there have now been 164,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate.
No10 said there is no evidence it spreads more easily.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “It’s something we’re keeping a very close eye on.
“There’s no evidence to suggest that this variant … the AY4.2 one … is more easily spread. There’s no evidence for that but as you would expect we’re monitoring it closely and won’t hesitate to take action if necessary.”