The UK’s actual COVID-19 death toll is considered to be higher as the total only includes those who have tested positive for the virus.
In an open letter, the scientists urged the government to postpone any further easing of the lockdown. The scientists, many of whom work in infectious disease, biology and immunology, are particularly vexed by the level of community transmission.
“Despite a two-month lockdown, we are still experiencing unacceptable daily numbers of deaths, still in the hundreds, and an estimated 8000 new infections a day in England alone,” they wrote.
“There is a very high probability that relaxation of lockdown, coupled with a potential breakdown in public trust, will bring us back into a situation where the outbreak is once again out of control.”
Steps to ease the lockdown in England have included the reopening of some schools and allowing groups of six people from different households to meet. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have also relaxed lockdown, but at a slower rate.