Daily coronavirus data shows that the UK has recorded the highest number of new cases today since February.
There were 7,540 new cases and six deaths within 28 days of a positive test, according to today’s government tally.
It is the highest daily rise since February 25, when 7,566 new cases were recorded.
It comes as Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, warned that there was a risk of ‘a substantial third wave’ of coronavirus infections.
He told a media briefing today that data compiled by a SPI-M, which is a subgroup of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) suggests we are facing a third wave.
‘Basically it is saying there is a risk of a substantial third wave, [but] we cannot be definitive about the scale of that – it could be substantially lower than the second wave or it could be of the same order of magnitude,’ he said.
‘That, critically, depends on how effective the vaccines still are protecting people against hospitalisation and death against the Delta variant, as well as a few other unknowns.’
The professor said that ‘in the next few weeks’ experts hope to be able to see more clearly what the ratio is between hospital admissions and cases, though it was already known that ‘vaccination has fundamentally changed that ratio’ for the better.
Boris Johnson is due to make a decision shortly on whether England can go ahead with full reopening on June 21.
Asked if delaying the road map date would make a difference, Prof Ferguson said: ‘Yes, because it allows more people to get second doses.’
He said efficacy for the second dose against the variant first identified in India was higher than after one dose.
He said any third wave of cases ‘will translate, by definition, into some number of hospitalisations and deaths’ but added that it is ‘harder to pin down quite how significant the latter will be at the current time’.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more stories like this, check our news page.