Up to 1,900 people could die in Northern Ireland in a second wave of coronavirus this winter, a leaked scientific document prepared for the UK Government has claimed.
The "reasonable worst case scenario" is set out in a paper by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) - although on Sunday night the Department of Health in Northern Ireland appeared not to accept the figure for Northern Ireland.
The Sage analysis warns that the death toll across the UK could top 85,000. The authors stress that they are setting out a worst-case scenario and not a prediction of what is likely to happen, adding that there is "a wide range of uncertainty" about the actual outcome.
However, some are critical of the modelling used to calculate the figures.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health here said on Sunday night: "This modelling was done at a UK level and we are aware of it. The Department of Health has not as yet agreed a reasonable worst case scenario for Northern Ireland."
Prof Carl Heneghan from Oxford University said some of the assumptions made were "implausible" and that the report assumes that "we've learnt nothing from the first wave of this disease".
On Sunday the Department of Health said 49 more people had tested positive for Covid-19 in Northern Ireland in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of known cases to 7,187.
A further 89 cases were announced on Saturday. The total for the last seven days is 452.
Seventeen people remain in hospital, with two patients in intensive care. The total number of deaths here remains at 560. Separate figures from Nisra, which include deaths outside hospital, put the total at 871 as of August 21.
In the Irish Republic, meanwhile, another 42 new cases of Covid-19 have been diagnosed, the National Public Health Emergency Team said last night. That is the lowest number of cases reported on a Sunday since July 26.
A further 142 cases were reported on Saturday, with confirmed cases now standing at 28,760.
No further deaths were reported. The total number of virus-linked deaths in the Republic remains at 1,777.
The UK Government's coronavirus dashboard reported 1,715 new cases across the UK - the highest since early June. It reported one more death, bringing the total number of UK deaths to 41,499.
Globally, coronavirus infections have passed 25m, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
It followed grim warnings from Sage around the potential impact of a winter onslaught of Covid-19 in the UK.
Its paper was prepared to help the NHS and local authorities with planning for mortuaries and burial services if another surge happens.
The document, obtained by the BBC's Newsnight, was drawn up on the assumption that schools will remain open and that the Government's tracing, isolation and quarantine measures will only be 40% effective in cutting the spread of the coronavirus outside households.
The model found that in a worst-case scenario, there could be 81,000 excess deaths due to Covid-19 in England and Wales between July 2020 and March 2021, and around 27,000 excess deaths from non-coronavirus causes.
In Scotland, there could be 2,600 deaths directly due to Covid-19, and 1,900 in Northern Ireland.
This would represent a significant increase in the number of fatalities compared with the first wave of the virus.
However, modelling of death rates as the pandemic began proved wildly inaccurate.
Prof Neil Ferguson's research with Imperial College London colleagues warned that 250,000 people could die in the UK without drastic action before Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced a lockdown in March.
In Northern Ireland, modelling at the outset of the pandemic predicted 15,000 deaths in what Health Minister Robin Swann described as a "nightmare, worst case" scenario. It was later downgraded to 3,000, then 1,500.
Reacting to the latest figures, Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the Nuffield Trust health think tank, said the Sage report had "very wide ranges" of scenarios which make it "quite difficult for people to work out exactly what they should be doing".
A UK Government spokesperson said: "As a responsible government, we have been planning and continue to prepare for a wide range of scenarios, including the reasonable worst-case scenario."