Britain will face a ‘prolonged period’ of deaths due to the pandemic — but not from the Covid virus itself, Sir Chris Whitty and the Government’s top virus advisers said today.
England’s chief medial officer claimed the nation faces a rising death toll from heart disease and cancer cases due to pleas to protect the NHS.
Knock-on effects of dealing with Covid, which saw thousands of routine treatments and appointments delayed, will also fuel a surge in excess deaths.
The comments came from a ‘technical report’ published on the pandemic, advising health chiefs in the future on how to deal with similarly disruptive viral threats.
The report was also authored by Sir Patrick Vallance who, with Sir Chris, became a household name during the pandemic, appearing next to then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson during tense Downing St briefings to talk the nation through the crisis.
In one section, the team warned their successors that the ‘extraordinary’ speed at which vaccines were developed could lull politicians in the future into a false sense security.
Britain had to rely on lockdowns, face masks, ventilation and hand washing before drugs were available and immunity levels rose.