Are we in a third wave of coronavirus – when will cases peak?

Long covid: Expert discusses number of people suffering in UK

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Covid infections have started piling up once again, despite the positive direction of cases and vaccine uptake. The Delta variant has established a stranglehold on the UK outbreak, with two mutations threatening the national vaccine programme. The news has sparked fears a third wave is currently stirring, fewer than two weeks before Brits anticipate stepping out without restrictions.

Are we in the third wave of coronavirus?

Covid cases in the UK are gradually ticking up, from roughly 2,000 at the end of May to more than 6,000 on June 8.

The trend shows infections have nearly tripled, and deaths have risen in kind to 13.

Some high-risk areas, such as parts of Manchester and Lancashire – where the variant is spreading fastest – recently received enhanced support to suppress their outbreaks.

Residents there have been told to follow restrictions similar to last year’s local lockdowns.

These include continued work from home arrangements and limiting travel where possible.

Public Health England (PHE) has acknowledged the variant carries a 2.7 times higher risk of hospitalisation.

While the Government has not teased future restrictions or announced the UK is on the brink of a third wave, scientists have expressed concerns.

Speaking to Sky News, former Government scientific adviser Sir David King said the country is on the cusp of another Covid wave.

He told the broadcasters: “[There are] 5,300 new cases of the disease per day in the United Kingdom and we’re up about 2,000 on last week.

“Now we’ve been discussing whether or not we’re going into a serious third wave and I don’t think we can possibly wait any longer.

“This is the evidence of another wave appearing.”

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Sir David confirmed officials reported a chunk of infections – roughly 400 per day – in fully vaccinated people.

He called on the Government to postpone its planned full reopening on June 21, as NHS fears rise.

Graeme Ackland, a Professor of computing at the University of Edinburgh, told The Guardian a peak wouldn’t reach the same level of the last two waves but would still be “sizeable” if spread continues untempered.

Frontline NHS staff have warned the service is already “on its knees”.

Recent reports suggest the Government is ready to heed Sir David’s warning, as a source told The Times No 10 could extend the final reopening date by two weeks.

The report comes following an allegedly “grim” conversation Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance had with ministers.

Environment Minister George Eustace didn’t confirm the briefing’s contents but said Boris Johnson would take decisions “a step at a time”.

He added ministers wouldn’t make a final decision until June 14.

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