The second wave of coronavirus cases is predicted to hit within months, with bosses at Norfolk County Council warning the death toll could be higher than in the first spike.

Eastern Daily Press: Tom McCabe, head of paid service at Norfolk County Council. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.Tom McCabe, head of paid service at Norfolk County Council. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

County Hall is making preparations for the next spike in COVID-19 infections and Tom McCabe, head of paid service at the council, said it was likely to begin in September/October.

And he warned the next wave could last longer - and bring more fatalities.

Mr McCabe made the remarks at a meeting of Norfolk County Council’s scrutiny committee, in response to a question from Labour leader Steve Morphew about the second spike.

MORE: UEA scientists discover how COVID-19 smell loss differs from cold or flu

Mr McCabe said: “There is general agreement that a second wave will begin through September/October. A peak in possibly January/February/March - there’s still some debate going on about that.

“The key differences predicted are that it will be a longer wave than we saw in the first wave. So that will mean that we will have to operate at a higher level for a longer period of time, that will cause additional stresses.

“The latest advice is that the peak may well be slightly lower than the first peak, but the length of it will, if we use the term, more than compensate for that.

“And the initial prediction is that we would see a higher number of fatalities nationally through a second wave.

“Some of the things they are looking at with national modelling is what type of lockdown do they try to model within this.

“I think it’s fair to say that nationally, government would be reluctant to go to a full lockdown that we had in the first wave.

“Certainly things like schools, I would expect the government will make every effort to keep schools open. So the severity of measures introduced will have an impact on fatality and infection rates.”

MORE: Meet the man with a plan to test everyone in Norwich for coronavirus

Mr McCabe said the severity of winter flu and bad weather could also have an impact on what pressure the NHS comes under.

And he added: “The Brexit issue will impact us at the end of December, regardless, and that could have material impact, both on the lead up and post-Brexit, getting materials, food, supplies, medicine into the country.

“There’s quite a few variables in there, but the latest advice is a gentle ramp up through autumn, but as we get into November/December, we expect things to get more serious.”