There will be days in June when there are no deaths from coronavirus at all, a scientist suggested.
Professor Carl Heneghan, of the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, said there would be days late next month in which there would be no deaths in the UK.
It comes after the total number of deaths in the UK since the pandemic exceeded 35,000, as reported by the Mirror.
The most recent figures show an increase of 545 in hospitals and care homes – the largest in a week, although the death toll continues to decrease overall.
He told the sun, “I think we’ll look at the data in late June and find it difficult to find people with this disease, if current trends in deaths continue.
“But we will continue to have this sporadic up and down for about four to six weeks.”
He added, “People shouldn’t panic or get out of context if, for example, we haven’t had any deaths for four days, and now eight or ten, because we’ll see that when you go lower numbers, [there will be] a little more variation in the actual data. “
Meanwhile, during the press conference on Tuesday, ministers attempted to defend the government’s treatment of the coronavirus crisis in care homes amid allegations that their pandemic planning was inadequate and targeted the NHS.
Head of healthcare providers, Professor Martin Green, said infected patients were discharged from hospitals in homes, while medical support from the NHS was withdrawn.
New numbers suggest that about 15,000 nursing home residents have died with the virus.
Prof Green told MPs to the Commission on Health and Social Affairs that despite promises from ministers, there were still major problems with testing, with lost results and waiting staff eight to ten days to find out if they have coronavirus.
He said, “From the beginning of this pandemic, we should have focused on nursing homes.
“What we saw in the beginning was a focus on the NHS, which meant that nursing homes often withdrew their medical support from the NHS.
“We also had disruptions to our PPE (personal protective equipment) supply chains.
“We also saw that people were discharged from the hospital when we did not have the test regime in place.
So, despite what has been said, there were cases of people who either had no Covid-19 status, or were symptomatic, who were discharged from nursing homes.
“Now that the nursing homes are full of people with underlying health problems, I think we should have looked at where the people at greatest risk were, rather than thinking about a particular organization.”
But Environment Minister George Eustice rejected the claim that the government had made mistakes treating nursing homes during the crisis.
However, he acknowledged that some residents with asymptomatic coronavirus may have been released from hospital.
Mr Eustice told the daily press conference on Downing Street: “We do not accept the caricature of taking the wrong approach.
“We had protocols for nursing homes very early in this epidemic, there was guidance on how to handle things.
“As the situation developed, more stringent policies were introduced through layoff policies and we got to the point where everyone was tested before being fired.
“But in those early weeks there may have been cases where people could have been discharged asymptomatic, there may have been a few cases where they may have had symptoms but have been isolated.
“That was the guiding principle at the time, but we’ve strengthened it ever since, and now we have testing and a strict discharge policy that is in place and getting stronger.”