Those who died from coronavirus this weekend would have caught the disease a month ago – weeks before Britain implemented social-distancing.
Professor James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute at the University of Oxford, said he is confident social distancing measures will work if people continue to follow the rules.
He warned the deaths we are seeing now, up 209 as of yesterday, is a result of lax measures two weeks ago.
But stressed Brits can "reduce the final death toll" by following Government advice.
Professor Naismith said: "I am confident that provided we follow social distancing the increase in deaths will stop and this will be followed by a decrease in the daily numbers.
"It can take up to two weeks from infection to onset of symptoms.
"For over 80% of people these symptoms are mild, for the much smaller number who develop the most serious illness, intensive care is needed around 10 days later.
"For those who do not recover but die, data from China suggests this takes around another four days.
"The tragic deaths today will be from people infected roughly a month ago. It is inevitable that there will be more tragedies for families ahead.
"We can reduce the final death toll only by following current Government advice.
"We must expect and welcome changes in Government advice as science, medicine and social science work together to learn more."
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It has been a week since Prime Minister Boris Johnson shut all pubs, clubs and restaurants and urged people to stay home to save lives and protect the NHS.
He told Brits on Monday “the time had come” for stricter measures and ordered all citizens to stay home unless absolutely necessary.
Under the measures, Johnson said Brits are only permitted to leave their homes for daily exercise, to seek medical care or shop for essential items.
Brits could soon be under stricter social distancing measures to stop the spread within six weeks, the Housing Secretary suggested yesterday.
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