Stormont’s Chief Scientific Advisor Professor Ian Young
He said the projected patient numbers are a direct consequence of the “mixing that occurred over the Christmas period”.
And he poured cold water on hopes that the lockdown in Northern Ireland will be lifted on February 6.
Last week, the Executive announced a number of additional measures in a bid to ease the pressure on Northern Ireland’s health service.
These included the extension of remoted learning until the mid-term break in February, enhanced measures to limit contacts between individuals in domestic settings, and preventing people from leaving home without a reasonable excuse.
At the time, the Executive said the restrictions “will be in place until February 6 and will be reviewed on January 21”.
However, speaking this afternoon, Dr McBride described the proposed schedule as “optimistic in the extreme”.