Analysis on top scientists' coronavirus warning: 'We're in for the long haul but there's hope'

If there's one thing I took away from Monday's update from the government's Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser is that things are not looking good in the UK.

"There's no doubt" the number of coronavirus cases are increasing now, they said, and it will need to be halted if we don't want to see a rise in deaths.

It was the forecast of what could happen if we don't do anything to stop Covid-19 spreading now that was most striking.

We could see 50,000 cases of the disease a day by mid-October and around 200 deaths a day four weeks later Sir Patrick Vallance said.

In order to stop this from happening, Professor Chris Whitty said there are four things that could have a significant impact: socially distance, isolate if we have symptoms, break the links of transmission and science.

Breaking the links of transmission is the most interesting - Prof Whitty pointed to reducing social contacts, including household contacts and admitted there would be some downsides.

We all know that the prime minister, although reluctantly, is thinking of another (mini) national lockdown, it sounds as if that mini lockdown could include a ban on mixing with other households, since that is where the virus is being transmitted the most.

Two other things that struck me - we're in for the long haul here.

Prof Whitty pointed out we are entering autumn and then winter, where viruses tend to thrive.

He warned us all we will have to live with this for at least another six months.

And then there was the good news, Sir Patrick indicated that the vaccine programmes were going well and we could, COULD, see some sort of protections, for some groups of people before the end of the year.

That's a timescale we have all been dreaming of and the country's top scientist has just said it could happen.