There could be no coronavirus deaths on several days in June in the UK if trends continue their current path, experts have said.
Fatalities are currently dropping by 30 a day, which puts the country on course to have none by the end of next month, statisticians argued.
The number of registered deaths from COVID-19 fell for a third week in a row, with 3,930 fatalities associated with the disease in the week ending 8 May, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Professor Carl Heneghan, from Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, said at a briefing on Tuesday: “I think by the end of June we'll be looking at the data and finding it difficult to find people with this illness, if the current trends continue in the deaths.”
Prof Heneghan said the UK would continue having sporadic death rates from coronavirus for around four to six weeks.
He added: “People shouldn't panic or get out of context if suddenly, say, we've had no deaths for four days, and now we've had eight or ten, because we'll see that as you go down lower numbers, [there will be] a bit more variation in the actual data.”
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Dr Jason Oke, who works as a statistician at Oxford University, backed up his colleague, saying: “They are [deaths] dropping at about 30 a day. And the last day the ONS reports it’s just below 400 deaths [in total].
“So you can do the maths and wonder if that continues, for how much longer will we see COVID deaths.”
In total, the ONS revealed on Tuesday 39,071 deaths had been associated with COVID-19 in England and Wales up to 8 May.
When combined with the number of deaths in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the four-nation total adds up to more than 44,000.
These stats include any fatality with the virus mentioned on the death certificate, with or without a positive test.
The latest ONS figures also show about a quarter of coronavirus-related deaths in England and Wales took place in care homes.
Official government figures have the UK coronavirus death toll at 35,341, which includes all deaths across in hospitals, care homes and the community.