Expert Professor Carl Heneghan said daily coronavirus deaths could be zero by the end of next month

The daily number of deaths from coronavirus could be approaching zero by the end of next month, an expert suggested yesterday.

It came as the number of deaths officially linked to Covid-19 in England and Wales fell for a third week in a row in the week ending on VE Day, providing fresh hope the worst of the pandemic may be over.

Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University, said: ‘I think by the end of June we’ll be looking at the data and finding it difficult to find people with this illness, if current trends continue.’

The figures from the Office for National Statistics, which collects the official count of weekly deaths, were backed up Downing Street numbers that showed a falling toll of victims with 545 deaths from Covid-19 in hospitals, care homes and private homes on Tuesday, bringing the total during the outbreak to 35,341.

Although the 545 daily count was a jump following the usual weekend lull in recording, it was a fall of 13 per cent on the 627 tally from a week earlier.

It came as the number of deaths officially linked to Covid-19 in England and Wales fell for a third week in a row in the week ending on VE Day, providing fresh hope the worst of the pandemic may be over

Professor Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University, said: ‘I think by the end of June we’ll be looking at the data and finding it difficult to find people with this illness, if current trends continue’

The figures from the Office for National Statistics, which collects the official count of weekly deaths, were backed up Downing Street numbers that showed a falling toll of victims with 545 deaths from Covid-19 in hospitals, care homes and private homes yesterday, bringing the total during the outbreak to 35,341. Pictured: A packed Margate beach in Kent this afternoon

Professor Dame Angela McLean, deputy chief scientific adviser, said yesterday that there was a ‘sustained decline across all four of our nations’ in the numbers of Covid-19 hospital patients requiring mechanical ventilation – a marker of those who have been worst affected after contracting the virus. 

She also said there was a continued ‘steady decline’ in the number of coronavirus-related deaths.

In hospitals the falling number of victims even pushed numbers of fatalities below usual levels for this time of the year.

Crowds gather by the water in The Regent’s Park in the north-west corner of central London today as people enjoyed the toasty weather 

People paddle in the water at a natural Lido in London on Tuesday as the capital faced the hottest weather across the country 

The ONS said that hospital deaths in the week that ended on Friday May 8 were 114 fewer than the average number of hospital deaths in the past five years.

But the 12,657 deaths registered in the week ending in the VE Day holiday were still 3,081 more than the average number in the same week over the past five years. 

The ‘excess deaths’ figure indicates the virus is continuing to take a heavy toll. 

Families enjoy the sizzling heat across the country, with these people taking some time to relax on the Bournemouth coast

Analysts say the low number of hospital deaths may reflect the fact that sufferers are dying from Covid-19 in care homes rather than hospitals and those with severe non-virus health problems are also dying outside hospitals.

The ONS figures also showed that the share of virus deaths in care homes continued to rise. 

There were 4,248 deaths in care homes in the week ending Friday 8 May, down from 6,409 in the previous week. 

Of these, 1,666 had Covid-19 on the death certificate. This meant that despite the overall fall, the share of virus-linked deaths among care home fatalities went up, from 37.8 per cent to 39.2 per cent.

Cycle of 50-day strict lockdowns with 30 days off after each could be the safest way to beat coronavirus, Cambridge scientists say – but it would take more than 18 MONTHS to be rid of the disease 

Regular six-week lockdowns could be the way to defeat the coronavirus, according to Cambridge University scientists. 

Researchers have suggested that alternating between 50 days of strict lockdown and 30 days of more relaxed social distancing could be the safest way forward.

Under such a scenario an epidemic could last a year and a half, they said, but the number of people dying could be drastically reduced.

On the other hand, if governments did nothing and let the virus run rampant, the crisis could be over in six months but millions of people would die. 

The team added that it would ‘allow populations and their natural economies to breathe at intervals – a potential that might make this solution more sustainable’.

It could ‘buy valuable time to shore up health systems and increase efforts to develop new treatments or vaccines’. 

Dr Rajiv Chowdhury, an epidemiologist at Cambridge, led the research which was modelled on 16 varied countries around the world.

Those were Australia, Belgium, Chile, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Mexico, Colombia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Afghanistan and Burkina Faso. 

Dr Jennifer Dixon of the Health Foundation charity said: ‘While no action plan could undo decades of political neglect, questions should be asked as to how many deaths could have been prevented had action been taken earlier.’

The 3,930 deaths linked by doctors to the virus in the week ending Friday May 8 compares to 6,035 the previous week and 8,758 in the worst week of the epidemic.

But the ONS warned that very few deaths were recorded at register offices on VE day itself – a factor that will have reduced the overall count of victims. 

…but delays to ops could lead to 4,755 more dying from cancerDeaths would be a result of delays to surgery because of coronavirus pandemicHospitals braced for leap in referrals from GPs when lockdown measures easeResearchers  warn surge could lead to a ‘swamping’ of the system over summer

By Ben Spencer, Medical Correspondent for the Daily Mail

An extra 4,755 cancer patients will die early due to delays to surgery during the coronavirus pandemic, scientists predict.

Hospitals are bracing themselves for a leap in cancer referrals from GPs when lockdown measures are eased in the next few months.

Researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research in London warn the surge could lead to a ‘swamping’ of the system over the summer – with further delays as a result.

Study leader Professor Clare Turnbull said: ‘The Covid-19 crisis has put enormous pressure on the NHS at every stage of the cancer pathway, from diagnosis right across to surgery and other forms of treatment. 

An extra 4,755 cancer patients will die early due to delays to surgery during the coronavirus pandemic, scientists predict

‘Our study shows the impact that delay to cancer treatment will have on patients, with England, and the UK more widely, potentially set for many thousands of attributable cancer deaths as a result of the pandemic.’

The NHS told doctors in March to prioritise cancer patients for treatment.

Professor Turnbull said it was not clear yet how many operations had been cancelled in the last two months, but added that delays have not been as severe as expected.

‘We didn’t see the competition for intensive care beds and anaesthetists that we expected because everyone did as they were told and stayed at home. 

‘But the real impact will come in July, August and September.

‘There has been a 25 to 75 per cent reduction in cancer referrals between March and May. 

‘When these patients arrive the anticipation is that this will swamp the system. 

‘The totality of that means there will be thousands of extra deaths over the next five years.’

Her team calculated that if all 94,912 patients – the number of those who would usually have surgery to remove their cancer over the course of a year in England – had a three-month delay, there would be an additional 4,755 deaths in the next five years.

Taking into account the length of time that patients are expected to live after surgery, the delay would amount to 92,214 years of life lost, the research published in the Annals of Oncology reported.

NHS officials last night insisted this is speculative –and pointed to guidance issued on March 30 which said essential cancer treatment must continue.

An NHS spokesman said: ‘These theoretical ‘what if’ scenarios don’t correspond to what is actually now happening, because cancer services are continuing and expanding. 

‘The NHS has set out guidance so that hospitals can further increase the number of cancer tests and treatments they carry out, so our message is, “Help us help you, and seek help as you always would”.’



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