Northern Ireland could record 1,000 Covid-19 cases a day by end of August

Modelling by Department of Health assumes Delta variant becomes dominant

Northern Ireland chief medical officer Michael McBride receives his first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine  at the Ulster Hospital Covid-19 vaccination centre in Belfast in March. File photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Northern Ireland chief medical officer Michael McBride receives his first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine at the Ulster Hospital Covid-19 vaccination centre in Belfast in March. File photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

 

Northern Ireland could be recording more than 1,000 Covid-19 cases a day by the end of the summer, in Stormont’s Department of Health modelling has suggested.

The 1,000-1,200 daily case number at the end of August is the department’s central projection of the virus’ trajectory over the coming months.

That number of cases would translate to between 200 and 300 hospital inpatients with Covid-19 by mid-September.

The modelling is based on three assumptions – the Delta variant becoming dominant ; 85 per cent of adults having received two vaccine doses and the public continuing to adhere to social distancing.

The department said there had been 254 probable or confirmed cases of the Delta variant in Northern Ireland.

Chief scientific adviser Prof Ian Young outlined three modelling projections at the briefing: central, pessimistic and optimistic.

The pessimistic projection would see more than 5,000 cases a day at a peak earlier in the summer. Prof Young said it was “pretty inconceivable” Northern Ireland would reach that point. The optimistic projection would see 50 to 100 cases a day. – PA