Indian Covid could put pressure on NHS within five weeks, says expert

An expert says the Indian variant of Covid, which is rapidly spreading across the UK, can overwhelm the NHS in five weeks as the number of cases doubles each week.

And he says the doubling of cases will accelerate if we lift restrictions on June 21st.

Professor Andrew Hayward of University College London and member of the Advisory Group on New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats (Nervtag) said people who received just one dose of the vaccine could end up in hospital even at a young age.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today program, “In addition, there is a doubling of cases (the Indian variant) every week, and with a minimal estimate of about 7,000 cases in the last week, only five or six doublings are required for that get up, to say a quarter of a million cases, and then you could put the pressure on the NHS and preventable diseases. “

As more restrictions were lifted, he said, “Instead of doubling every week, it will likely double more often than that. I think there is a good argument to be cautious about until we double-vaccinate a much higher percentage of the population. “

He said many people could still work from home “without any economic impact,” which would greatly reduce the transmission of the virus.

Dr. Helen Wall, head of the Covid vaccination program in Bolton, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that hospitalized patients in the area are not as sick as previous patients with Covid-19 and that “vaccines seem to be working.”

She said “a significant number of 30 and 40 year olds” are being hospitalized in Bolton, adding that there are “tens of thousands of young people” who are only just eligible for the vaccine, “which we need “vaccinated very quickly now”.

She added, “In terms of how sick they get, I think the vaccine definitely seems to be working. We don’t see, certainly not a lot of people as sick as they were before the vaccination, certainly the picture in the hospital is a lot better than before when we were in this position. “

When asked how many patients received two doses in the hospital, she said, “There are literally a handful of people who have been double vaccinated and some of them have been double vaccinated and only recently had the second vaccine. We know this second The dose lasts two to three weeks to give you full protection. “

She said the oldest patient in the hospital is 101 years old, adding, “As you get older for an illness anyway, your ability to fight disease and build immunity to vaccinations decreases.”

Dr. Mike Tildesley of the University of Warwick and a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modeling (Spi-M) told BBC Breakfast that cases will increase, but vaccines are proving helpful.

He said, “We would expect that with these restrictions lifted, at some point the R-number would go above 1 and it looks like it probably is now as cases are gradually increasing.”

“But the most important thing for us is that, given the vaccines, we are in a very different place than, say, in October when we started watching cases in worrying ways, because hopefully the vaccines can help us, by the way, and when we get the can Stepping down the street, so to speak, we can let the vaccines help us and hopefully eventually allow us to lift the restrictions. “

He said, “it seems like the vaccines are working pretty well, especially after a second dose,” and urged everyone to sign up for both doses of the shock.

“Obviously the concern is that because it is somewhat more transmissible, there is the potential for another wave of infections and potential hospital admissions will increase again,” he added.

“So we really have to try and collect as much evidence as possible over the next week or two to really understand what’s going on with this new variant and how much more it’s spreading, and then of course try to predict what we might expect this June 21 easing is going ahead. “

Economy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said “there is nothing in the data to suggest that we should postpone the day” of the next phase of the Covid-19 restrictions lift on June 21.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today program, “The obvious limitation is that the dates are subject to change. So if scientific data suggests an increased hospital stay rate and risk, we have the flexibility to postpone that date. “

But he added, “To date, from the dates I saw, I didn’t think we’d move the date. But I can’t guarantee that I won’t be able to guarantee it on May 28th in three and a half weeks.”

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