As the UK marks a year since its first Covid-19 case, NHS chief Sir Simon Stevens has paid tribute to staff.
The head of the NHS in England called the “extraordinary work in a year like no other”.
Sir Stevens visited the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, where two Chinese nationals were being treated after testing positive for the virus.
A 23-year-old student and a 50-year-old woman fell ill in York.
They were initially treated in Hull before being brought to Newcastle early in the morning on January 31, 2020.
Since then, hospitals have treated more than 320,000 Covid-19 patients, with a person with the disease being admitted to intensive care every half hour.
The facilities had to be redesigned to increase their intensive care and “surge capacity” by about half.
According to the NHS, 26,476 patients with Covid-19 had required the most intensive care since the first cases were diagnosed.
According to statistics, January 23, 2021 was the busiest day of the pandemic to date.
On that day, 5,381 people received critical care, 65 percent more than at any point in 2019.
The number was also 36 percent higher than the first wave.
So far, seven million people have been vaccinated against coronavirus.
Sir Stevens said: “On behalf of families and patients across the country, we thank staff across the NHS for their exceptional work in a year like no other.
“The coronavirus pandemic is the biggest public health emergency in the history of the NHS, but in the past 12 months the NHS has accomplished what many would have thought impossible – from quarantine centers and Nightingale hospitals within days of the Explaining the pandemic until hospitals expand critical care capacity by 50%, develop new Covid treatments and services, and provide the first vaccination outside of a clinical trial.
“It is the vaccination program, the largest in the history of the NHS, combined with the prospect of new therapies and treatments that give us hope for the future.
“Our brilliant NHS staff were at the forefront of the intense and relentless battle against the coronavirus, but no health service could handle the virus alone.
“You are part of the greatest peacetime mobilization in this country. So we thank other key workers, especially in the care sector, the hundreds of thousands of volunteers, tens of thousands of returned staff, the student nurses and medical students who have been reinforced and our colleagues in the armed forces .
“We are also very grateful to all of those who have done their part in reducing infection and slowing the spread of the virus, which has undoubtedly saved many lives.”
Dr. Matt Schmid, the consultant who led the team that treated the first patients, said, “Looking back over a year, it is incredible to believe that my team treated the first of many tens of thousands of Covid-19 patients around the world Country.
“Although this was an unknown disease at the time, we were ready to take care of these first patients and saw the dawn of major changes in the way all healthcare services provided and how we worked.
“I am very proud of the standard of care for these first patients in January 2020 and how we have kept that standard under constant pressure.
“As before, we met every Covid-19 patient with care and compassion in their darkest moments, and as we continued to develop our knowledge of the virus, we quickly adjusted to providing the highest level of care.
“I would like to thank my team and everyone who has helped fight the virus across the country for the effort they have made since treating these first patients 12 months ago.”
In the early days of the pandemic, quarantine centers were set up by the NHS to house people returning from China.
They were in Arrowe Park on the Wirral and in Milton Keynes.
During the peak of the first wave of the virus, NHS staff were caring for nearly 19,000 patients in hospitals.
That rose to more than 33,000 patients at its peak in January 2021.
NHS 111 and the Coronavirus Response Service answered more than 18 million calls. This corresponds to an increase of 19.6 percent compared to the call volume of the previous year. This gives more people who urgently need help an alternative to accidents and emergencies.