Chris Whitty warns Britain faces 'prolonged period' of excess deaths

Chris Whitty warns Britain faces ‘prolonged period’ of excess deaths NOT caused by Covid due to collateral effects of lockdown

  • Chief Medical Officer said heart disease and cancer cases were missed in Covid
  • Comments came in a ‘technical report’ published on the pandemic challenges 
  • Warned speed of vaccine development could lull UK into false sense security

Britain will face a ‘prolonged period’ of deaths due to the pandemic, but not from the Covid virus itself, Sir Chris Whitty has said.

Instead England’s chief medial officer said the nation faces a rising death toll from heart disease and cancer cases missed after people were encouraged to ‘protect’ the NHS during lockdown, and regular treatments were disrupted.

The comments came from ‘technical report’ published on the pandemic by both Sir Chris and Sir Patrick Vallance, chief scientific adviser to the Government.

In one section they advised their successors the speed at which Covid vaccines were developed could lull politicians into a false sense security for future pandemics, and that the UK might not be so lucky next time.

Sir Chris Whitty has warned the UK faces a prolonged death toll from the pandemic, not from Covid, but from missed heart disease and cancer cases 

Latest’s OHID data shows there were 64 excess cancer deaths in the week ending October 21 — the latest date statistics are available for. Around 3,000 deaths are expected per week at this time of year. But the figure has been above the five-year average almost every week since mid-June. This includes highs of 510 extra cancer fatalities on the week ending June 10 and an additional 229 on the week ending September 9 

The former health secretary’s eagerly awaited book, Pandemic Diaries, details the extraordinary drama, feuds, cock-ups, failures and triumphs of the Government’s battle to cope with a once-in-a-century crisis.

The latest data shows  hundreds more cancer deaths are now occurring in England each week, that experts said laid bare the catastrophic knock-on effects of Covid.

Up to 230 additional fatalities due to the disease are being registered weekly, latest data from the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities shows.

Expected deaths due to heart disease — one of the country’s top killers — have also been higher than expected ever since the pandemic started. 

The two Government advisors also touched on the controversial policy on discharging potential Covid positive residents into care homes during the pandemic, a decision some have blamed for the deaths of thousands of elderly Britons. 

In the report, they called dealing with care homes ‘some of the most complex’ decisions of the pandemic as officials tried to slow the spread of the virus without producing staff shortages in care and leaving vulnerable residents isolated.

Despite criticism of the policy Sir Chris and Patrick wrote that ‘does not appear to have been the dominant way in which Covid-19 entered most care homes’.

Their report also hints at tensions with politicians, describing a ‘craving for certainty’ at time when scientists were still grappling with the at-the-time unknown virus. 

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