Coronavirus: Expert warns of five week wait for death rate to fall
NHS England London medical director Vin Diwakar gave the warning to the medical directors of London’s hospital trusts over a Zoom call, according to the Health Service Journal (HSJ). Slides from the meeting, seen by HSJ, show that even if the number of COVID-19 patients grew at the lowest likely rate and measures to manage capacity were successful, NHS hospitals in the capital would be overwhelmed.
In the “best” case scenario, which includes opening the Nightingale, the NHS would reportedly still be short of 2,000 general, acute and ICU beds by 19 January.
Three scenarios were laid out for general, acute and intensive care labelled the “best”, “average” and “worse”.
The outlines accounted for the impact of four per cent growth, five per cent growth and six per cent growth of COVID-19 cases respectively.
The report of the meeting came as the UK reported its highest daily death toll since April.
London’s hospitals will be overwhelmed due to the coronavirus in less than two weeks
The UK reported its highest daily death toll since April
Britain registered 1,041 deaths related to the coronavirus on Wednesday, according to data from the Department of Health.
The country also reported 62,322 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily rise since mass testing began.
It is the third day in a row Britain has registered a record figure of coronavirus cases.
On Wednesday, MPs overwhelmingly voted for Boris Johnson’s third national lockdown in England which became law at midnight.
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MPs overwhelmingly voted for Boris Johnson’s third national lockdown in England
According to HSJ, Mr Diwakar projected the “best” case scenario would see the number of COVID-19 patients in general and acute beds rise to 9,500 by 19 January.
He predicted the total demand to be at 17,100 after “small demand control measures”.
The report said measures to increase capacity include the NHS finding another 400 beds and the independent sector finding 50.
In addition, 1,000 “step down beds” would complement this, some supplied by the Nightingale hospital’s opening, and 150 made available by specialist trusts.
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Britain registered 1,041 deaths related to the coronavirus on Wednesday
This would reportedly give a total capacity of 15,600 which is 1,500 short of the forecast demand in the “best” case scenario.
The number of beds short of the forecast increases in the “average” and “worse” case scenarios to 2,900 and 4,400 respectively.
The shocking data came after Prime Minister Johnson tried to win over MPs as he defended his third national lockdown on Wednesday.
But he admitted the laws governing the lockdown will stay in place until March 31 in a warning that the end of the measures would “not be a big bang but a gradual unwrapping”.
UK coronavirus map
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Johnson said: “We should remain extremely cautious about the timetable ahead.
“And as was the case last Spring our emergence from the lockdown cocoon will not be a big bang but a very gradual unwrapping.”
The prime minister said the national lockdown is “not expected” to continue until March 31 but it “will allow a steady controlled and evidence led move down through the tiers on a regional basis”.
He added: “Carefully brick by brick breaking free of our confinement but without risking the hard won gains that our protections have given us.”
Mr Johnson confirmed that the restrictions will be kept under continuous review every two weeks.