A tragic quarter of all Covid patients are UNDER 55

And he urged Brits to remember Covid affects “all ages” as he revealed the bug is “spreading out of control” with 30,000 people in overstretched hospitals.

Sir Simon said: “In London perhaps one in 30 people has the coronavirus, in parts of London it may be twice that number.

“If you look across other regions of England the issue is that coronavirus is once again on the rise.

“In Merseyside in just the last week there has been a further 50 per cent increase in the number of Covid hospitalisations.

“So this is a very serious moment for the country and for the National Health Service.

“It’s worth remembering that this affects all ages – a quarter of the Covid admissions to hospital right now are for people aged under 55.”

The chief also said every adult in England will be offered a Covid vaccine this year.

But he warned the explosion in cases is causing a “very serious moment” for the NHS.

His comments came as┬áChris Whitty today warned the NHS is facing its “worst weeks” of the coronavirus pandemic as he urged Brits to “stay at home”.

England’s Chief Medical Officer said the UK will go through “the most dangerous time” before the vaccine roll out has had an impact.

During a BBC phone-in on the current high case rates, he said: “I don’t think we’re yet at the peak, I’m afraid.

“I think we will be at the peak if everybody can double down and absolutely minimise their contacts.

“The point of the lockdown is to bring that forward, but it only works if everyone really thinks about every individual interaction they have and try and minimise them.”

But he also gave hope to millions struggling under the current restrictions – and said there is ‘no doubt’ that life will soon go on as it did before the pandemic.

It came as Boris Johnson today warned lockdown restrictions could get even tougher.

The PM gave a stark warning that further action may be needed – just a week after England’s new national lockdown began.

He said: “We are going to keep the rules under constant review. Where we have to tighten them, we will.