The document, seen by the Guardian newspaper, warns some 7.9 million people will need to be treated in hospital for the infection over the course of the next year. It is the first time public health officials have openly admitted they expect the virus to be present in the country for at least 12 months. The briefing was sent to senior NHS officials amid fears of the strain coronavirus will put on the already overstretched NHS, in terms of capacity and the impact on the health of doctors and nurses working on the frontline. According to the Guardian, the document was drawn up over the last few days and shared with hospital bosses and senior doctors in the health service.
In the summer, the number of people becoming infected with coronavirus is expected to drop because people will be spending more time outdoors and are less likely to have close contact with those who are infected. There are however fears the infection could surge again in the winter months, until a vaccine is developed.