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‘Worst-case’ UK winter could see 120,000 COVID deaths in second wave

The AMS said there is a “high degree of uncertainty” about how the UK’s COVID-19 epidemic will evolve, but outlined a “reasonable worst-case scenario” where the reproduction number — or R value — rises to 1.7 from September 2020 onwards.

The R value — the average number of people an infected person will pass a disease on to — is currently between 0.7 and 0.9 in the UK and daily case and death numbers are falling. An R value above 1 can lead to exponential growth.

“The modeling estimates 119,900 hospital deaths between September 2020 and June 2021,” the AMS report said, more than double the number that occurred during the first wave.

AMS vice president Anne Johnson said a bad winter flu season, combined with large backlog of patients suffering other diseases and chronic conditions, would add to huge pressure on health services — underlining a need to prepare now.

“COVID-19 has not gone away,” she said. “We need to do everything we can to stay healthy this winter.” (Reporting by Kate Kelland; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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