UK official warns of hard months ahead amid high COVID rates

Nov 2, 2021, 6:19 PM | Updated: Nov 3, 2021, 11:50 am
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street to attend the weekly session of Pri...

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street to attend the weekly session of Prime Minsters Questions at Parliament in London, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

LONDON (AP) — England’s deputy chief medical officer said Wednesday that too many people believe the pandemic is over, warning that the U.K.’s very high coronavirus rates and rising deaths mean that there are “hard months to come in the winter.”

Jonathan Van-Tam also said he was worried that increasing numbers of deaths showed infections were “now starting to penetrate into older age groups.”

Coronavirus “rates are still very high at the moment. They are higher than in most of Europe,” Van-Tam told the BBC. “We are running quite hot. And, of course, it’s of concern to scientists that we are running this hot this early in the autumn season.”

“I personally feel there are some hard months to come in the winter and it’s not over,” he added.

The British government reported 41,299 new COVID-19 cases and 217 deaths Wednesday. The country recorded its highest daily death toll since February – 293 – on Tuesday.

While new cases have been dropping from around 46,000 a day in October, infection rates in Britain are still much higher than in most of Europe.

Van-Tam said the drop in case numbers mainly reflected the ebbing of a surge recently seen among teenagers. He warned that while hospital admissions have plateaued and total numbers of patients in hospitals have slightly gone down, the overall picture was still worrying.

“This could be a pause before things go up, it could be the very first signs that things are beginning to stabilize but at a high rate,” he said. “But my worry is that the deaths are increasing and that shows that the infection is now starting to penetrate into those older age groups.”

The U.K. got a head-start in rolling out its vaccination program, and most adults have been fully inoculated. A booster shot is being offered to millions, including everyone over 50. But the government has been cautious about vaccinating teenagers and younger people, authorizing jabs for healthy children between 12 to 15 years old only this September.

Jeremy Brown, a member of the government’s vaccination advisory committee, said it was “far too early” to follow the lead of the United States in vaccinating children 11 years old and under.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government lifted almost all coronavirus restrictions in July, including mandatory face coverings and social distancing requirements. Nightclubs and crowded venues were allowed to fully open and the work from home advice was scrapped.

Authorities have resisted calls to reimpose restrictions like mandatory mask-wearing, and are instead relying heavily on vaccines to keep infections down.


Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, a Coast Guard Cutter Kimball crew-member observes a...
Associated Press

Patrol spots Chinese, Russian naval ships off Alaska island

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A U.S. Coast Guard ship on routine patrol in the Bering Sea came across a guided missile cruiser from China, officials said Monday. But it turned out the cruiser wasn’t alone as it sailed about 86 miles (138 kilometers) north of Alaska’s Kiska Island, on Sept. 19. The patrol boat, known […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Appeals court blocks California ban on for-profit prisons

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A larger panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday again blocked California’s first-in-the-nation ban on for-profit private prisons and immigration detention facilities, finding that it is trumped by the federal government. A three-judge appellate panel last year rejected the 2019 state law that would have phased out […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Ex-Alaska attorney general pleads not guilty to sexual abuse

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A former Alaska attorney general pleaded not guilty Monday to charges he sexually abused a minor three decades ago when he was the alleged victim’s high school coach. Clyde “Ed” Sniffen, 58, entered his plea through his attorney, Jeffrey Robinson. Both appeared telephonically. Judge William Morse said a trial scheduling conference […]
18 hours ago
GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen, left, and his running mate, Matt Birk, speak at a news co...
Associated Press

GOP attacks Minnesota governor in $250M food fraud case

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Republicans attacked Democratic Gov. Tim Walz on Monday after a judge took the rare step of disputing the administration’s claim that the judge prevented it from cutting off payments to Feeding Our Future, which is the target of a $250 million federal fraud case. The GOP candidates for governor, attorney […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Wichita man sentenced in ‘swatting’ case that led to death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita man was sentenced Monday to 18 months in prison for his role in a hoax phone call that led police to shoot and kill an innocent man in 2017. Shane Gaskill was sentenced after pleading guilty in May to wire fraud, KSN reported. He was originally placed on probation […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Joyce Chiles, chief prosecutor for Mississippi's Fourth Judicial District, is seen in her of...
Associated Press

Prosecutor who worked on 1 renewal of Emmett Till case dies

GREENWOOD, Miss. (AP) — Funeral services were held Monday for the Mississippi prosecutor who worked on one of the renewed investigations into the 1955 lynching of Black teenager Emmett Till, a killing that galvanized the civil rights movement after his mother insisted on an open-casket funeral so people could see her son’s mutilated body. Joyce […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
UK official warns of hard months ahead amid high COVID rates