March 25, 2020 / 12:25 PM / in 14 days

UK intensive care demand to peak within 3 weeks, Ferguson says

LONDON (Reuters) - If Britain’s measures for tackling the coronavirus outbreak work then intensive care demand will peak in 2 1/2 to 3 weeks time, a top epidemiologist who advised the government said on Wednesday.

“If, and it’s an if, we’re moderately confident as I’ve said but can’t be completely sure, if the current measures work as we would expect them to then we will see intensive care unit demand peak in approximately two and half to three weeks’ time and then decline thereafter,” Neil Ferguson, a professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London, told a British parliamentary committee.

When asked how many people would be infected in the next six months, he said: “It will vary a lot by geographic area it’s possible that up to 5, at the outside 10, percent of the London population will have some form of infection in that time.”

He said the recent data from South Korea was encouraging.

“We are looking at that as a model. The UK does not have the testing capability to replicate South Korea right now but it is likely in the next few weeks we will do,” Ferguson said.

Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; writing by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by Paul Sandle

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