Doctors warn of crisis as officials reject restrictions

Firefighter Matt Smither works with intensive care nurses in the intensive care unit of Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, southern England.

ADRIAN DENNIS | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON. A growing number of doctors in the UK are warning that the country and its health service are facing a new health crisis due to rampant Covid-19 infections and an increasing number of hospitalizations and deaths.

Alerts from several major UK medical organizations over the past couple of days came as government officials insisted that additional restrictions on public life were not needed yet, despite Health Minister Sajid Javid warning Wednesday that Covid cases could be as high as 100,000 per day as we enter winter.

To make matters worse, British experts are now tracking a delta variant mutation that could make the virus even more transmissible.

More details: The delta variant has a mutation that worries experts: here’s what we know so far

“Incredibly worried”

The British Medical Association criticized the government’s optimistic view of the situation, saying on Wednesday it was “incredibly worrying” that Javid was not, according to the association, “willing to take immediate action to save lives and protect the NHS.”

“Especially as we are approaching winter, when the NHS is trying to tackle the biggest care gap with an already depleted and depleted workforce.” this is added in the statement, echoing numerous reports of harassed frontline health workers.

More details: UK Doctors Call For Urgent Return Of Covid Restrictions As Experts Track A New Mutation

The BMA supported calls made earlier this week by the NHS Confederation (which represents organizations in the UK health sector) for the government to launch its Plan B, which it said last month it would act if Covid cases threaten to seriously affect health service performance.

“Today’s reality is unacceptable levels of infections, hospitalizations and deaths, unheard of in similar European countries. Compared to France, we have more than 10 times more cases and almost four times more deaths per million, ”says BMA. said.

Over the past week, between 40,000 and 50,000 new infections have been reported in the UK every day. While the number of daily deaths and hospitalizations remains well below the peak level of the pandemic thanks to the Covid vaccines, data shows those numbers are also rising.

On Thursday, the UK reported 52,009 new cases and 115 deaths within 28 days of testing positive for Covid. In addition, another 959 people were hospitalized, official figures show

The government has dismissed concerns about whether the health service will be able to handle the situation. Health Minister Edward Argar told the BBC on Thursday that the NHS is not under “unbearable pressure”, noting that there were about 95,000 NHS beds in NHS hospitals, of which 7,000 were occupied by Covid patients and 6,000 are currently empty.

“We know how these numbers can grow rapidly, so we look at it day after day, hour after hour. But at the moment we have the ability to manage, ”he said.

Other experts agree and say the data may be worse than it looks.

‘Great Britain is really in trouble’

The British Zoe Covid Study, which collects and analyzes data on Covid with the help of King’s College London, found on Thursday that the number of daily positive tests in the country is much higher than government data suggests. The data suggested an average of 81,823 new daily symptomatic cases based on PCR and LFT (lateral blood flow test) data up to five days ago. That’s up 17% from 69,993 new daily events last week.

Dr. Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London, Supervising study, commented that “with over 80,000 new cases a day, the UK is indeed in trouble.”

“This did not happen overnight, but unfortunately our calls for a more cautious approach to managing Covid have gone unheeded, despite the upward trend we have been reporting for several weeks … The UK needs to act now to prevent a situation from occurring. … on the eve of winter is getting out of control, ”he said.

Postponement of vaccination

Medical experts also agree that the UK vaccination program, which began developing back in December 2020, has stalled. Official figures show that 79% of the population aged 12 and over are fully vaccinated.

“There are a number of events behind the dramatic rise in infections in the UK. Adherence to non-drug interventions such as wearing masks has declined; the favorable summer season is waning; and a new sub-line of the Delta variant known as AY.4.2 is increasing slightly,” said Thursday David Mackie, chief European economist at JPMorgan.

“But, in our view, the main problem is the combination of a stalled mainstream vaccination program, weakening vaccine protection, and only a modest start to the revaccination program.”

Mackie noted that the number of fully vaccinated people in the UK reached 45 million in early October, but by October 19, 45.4 million were fully vaccinated, “which represents an average daily rate over the past few weeks of just 27,600. the main vaccination program has virtually stalled, ”he said.

Spector agreed that “the two main reasons we are seeing cases at their peak in January are the weakening of the UK vaccination program … and the lifting of most restrictions too early.”

He said the government needs to encourage the unvaccinated to get vaccinated and reintroduce “simple measures such as wearing masks on public transport and in crowded, poorly ventilated areas, avoiding large indoor gatherings and working from home where possible.”

“Doing nothing now will only aggravate the situation. This pandemic is far from over, and while it seems that some would rather bury themselves in the sand, Covid-19 and its new variants have other plans. ”

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