“As we ease and go into the summer, we expect them to rise significantly, and they could go as high as 100,000 case numbers,” Javid said. Even at its worst peak in January, Britain’s daily cases never surpassed 60,000 a day.
The health secretary added it was more important to track the number of hospitalizations and deaths caused by the virus — outcomes that he said have been tempered by new covid-19 treatments and a successful vaccination campaign.
“What matters more than anything is hospitalization and death numbers, and that is where the link has been severely weakened,” Javid said.
“Just to put a number on that, if I may — at the moment, we are seeing around 25,000 new cases a day," he said. "The last time we saw numbers like that … we sadly had deaths of around 500 a day. And now we are at about one-thirtieth of that.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Monday that almost all government-mandated restrictions to control the pathogen’s spread would end in England on July 19, even as he cautioned that the pandemic was not over.
The decision has alarmed some health experts who say it is too early to lift curbs such as public mask mandates, pointing to the devastation wrought by the delta variant in India, where it was first detected.
According to Public Health England, the variant accounts for at least 95 percent of new cases in Britain.
Katerina Ang in Singapore contributed to this report.