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A second Covid-19 outbreak could be “more severe” warns UK health chief Whitty

Professor Chris Whitty

A second wave of coronavirus could be “more severe” than the first, warns chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty.

And, if it arrives in winter, the NHS could be stretched to breaking point.


Professor Chris Whitty said “every country has now got an extremely difficult balancing act” on what happens next on easing the lockdown measures.

In a lecture to Gresham College, in Central London, Prof Whitty said:

“We all need to be honest about the fact there are no easy solutions here.

“It is entirely plausible for a second wave to actually be more severe than the first if it is not mitigated.”

The NHS is usually under greater pressure during the winter months as more people develop coughs and colds.

Health officials are looking to assess what would happen if another Covid-19 outbreak coincided with those seasonal burdens.

Prof Whitty said Covid-19 was likely to be transmitted more during winter.

He said: “At this point in the year, if someone’s got something that looks like Covid there’s a high chance it is Covid.

“In the winter, that is less true.”

“The winter is always worse than the summer, spring and autumn for health services, so we need to think about this at this point and we need to think about this in terms of how we come out for the next phase.”





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