Professor Chris Whitty (Chief Medical Officer for England) and Professor Sir Patrick Vallance (the UK's Chief Scientific Advisor) today gave an update on the status of coronavirus in the UK. They issued the stark warning that the UK faces 50,000 new coronavirus cases a day by mid-October without action.

Professor Angela Thomas, Acting President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh said:

As Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance highlighted in their press conference, this is a critical time for protecting people – and the NHS – from coronavirus.

Everyone has a role to play – whether as individuals or as part of an organisation – in stopping the rise in cases from overwhelming health and care services. This is a time for cool heads and responsible decision making, and as individuals, we must all follow the guidelines on social distancing, and hand and respiratory hygiene.

We must also have clear, concise and consistent public health messaging from government and public health agencies. While we appreciate that tailored approaches were required in different UK nations at times during the pandemic, each government in the UK must communicate clearly and commit to joint working where possible.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges also issued a statement, which the College supports:

The message today from Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer and Sir Patrick Valance, the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, was powerful and urgent.

It is clear that unless we take swift action, we face a disastrous second wave of COVID-19.

As the membership organisation for the professional bodies representing the UK’s doctors we are certain that a second COVID-19 wave would not only bring unnecessary deaths and suffering to individuals and families affected by COVID-19 but could potentially overwhelm the NHS and care systems during a winter period.

We all have our responsibilities in seeking to overcome this pandemic – whether as individual citizens, as healthcare professionals or as Government.

But it is how we all behave as individuals that will determine whether or not we have to suffer a second wave of this terrible disease. The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges would therefore urge everyone to ensure they follow the appropriate guidance. In that way we do have the chance to avoid a devastating second wave of COVID-19.