There were a number of worrying stories over the Christmas period, particularly relating to Boxing day. These are clear indications that the rate of covid-19 will surge in the early weeks of the New Year 2021 after the “super-spreader event” of Christmas. This, combined with the new more contagious variant of coronavirus spreading from London and the South east to the rest of the country, will provide the perfect storm for the NHS to become overwhelmed in the new year.
The London Ambulance Service (LAS) received as many emergency calls on 26 December as it did at the height of the first wave of Covid-19. Nearly 8,000 calls were received, a 40% increase on a typical “busy” day. Patient demand was “now arguably greater” than during the first wave, an internal message to all staff said. At one London hospital on Sunday morning, ambulance crews were typically waiting nearly six hours to hand over patients to hospital staff. The rapid spread of the new variant of Covid-19 was said to be the cause of the increased demand, according to the message. Click full source
Meanwhile South Central Ambulance Service – which serves Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Hampshire – said it was “extremely busy” and asked people only to dial 999 in a “life-threatening or serious emergency”.
Cardiff and Vale health board, which runs University Hospital of Wales, the largest in the country, put out a plea for assistance in its critical care department on Boxing Day. The board tweeted a plea at about 21:15 GMT on Boxing Day saying its critical care department was “urgently looking for assistance from medical students or other staff groups who have previously supported with proning patients”, which involves turning patients on to their front to increase the oxygen supply to the lungs.
Olwen Williams, vice president of Royal College of Physicians in Wales, said: “The number of people that are presenting as so seriously ill that they require intensive care is very worrying. “I think we can call this unprecedented, not only in terms of the numbers that are presenting, but also the number of staff that are affected.” click full source.
Clinicians in Scotland are warning health services could be overwhelmed by any surge in coronavirus cases after restrictions were temporarily eased at Christmas. The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties also said the new faster spreading strain of the virus could create a “perfect storm”. They warned it could take months for vaccinations to alleviate pressure on the “severely stretched” system. click full source.
These headlines over the holiday period were confirmed today, with England’s “very high” Covid infection level a “growing concern” as the NHS struggles to cope with rising patient numbers. On Monday, a record 41,385 Covid cases and 357 deaths were reported, with the figure for new cases the highest daily number reported, and the first time the daily total surpassed 40,000. NHS England said the number of people being treated for the virus in hospital is now 20,426, which is higher than the previous peak of about 19,000 in April. click full source.