Tuesday 29 December 2020
Queues in emergency rooms
British clinics are working on the attack
The UK reports more than 53,000 new corona cases in one day. The hospitals can hardly master the situation, patients wait up to six hours for an ambulance, and the staff are at the end of their tether. In the midst of the crisis, there is only one thing that gives doctors hope.
The hospitals are full, the staff at the limit: Record values for new infections and corona patients are pushing the British health system to its limits. Ambulances jammed in front of some emergency rooms, as reported by the British media. A hospital employee in Kent, England, reported that some patients had to wait up to six hours for an ambulance. Now some clinics are even considering setting up triage tents in front of the entrances, also to better control the influx of patients.
The number of corona cases continues to rise steeply: On Tuesday, the authorities reported 53,135 new infections – a significant increase from the previous record from the previous day. In addition, more corona patients are currently being treated in hospitals than at the previous peak in spring. Above all, a new variant of the coronavirus is blamed for the rapidly increasing new infections. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said just before Christmas that the mutation was highly contagious and spreading quickly.
So far, London and southern England have been particularly hard hit. A new highest corona warning level has been in effect in these areas for a week now: Millions of people are not allowed to receive visits and should only leave their homes in important cases such as for work or visits to the doctor. But there are also severe restrictions on private and public life in other parts of the country.
The head of the British NHS health service, Simon Stevens, thanked the clinic and nursing staff for their continuous work. “Many of us have lost relatives, friends and colleagues. And at a time when we were going to be partying, many people understandably feel anxious, frustrated and drained,” Stevens said in a video message. “And now we are back in the eye of the storm, which is sweeping through Europe and our country with a second Corona wave.”
The head of the Doctors’ Association UK, Samantha Batt-Rawden, wrote on Twitter that the nursing staff had been doing extra work for months. “Lots of people canceled their Christmas party to volunteer for extra shifts. But the truth is, lots of people are dead.” Emergency physician Simon Walsh of the British Medical Association said many clinics were already operating in exceptional mode. “You have to deal with queues for ambulances outside of many emergency rooms, often with patients who have sat in the ambulance for long hours because there is simply no room for them.”
Astrazeneca vaccine awaits approval
NHS boss Stevens emphasized that hope now rests on the mass vaccination against corona, which Britain had started three weeks ago. The funds from the Mainz-based pharmaceutical company Biontech and the US company Pfizer are used. Two doses per person are required for full vaccination protection. Now the first patients received their second vaccination, including 91-year-old Margaret Keenan, who was the first to be vaccinated on December 8th.
The approval of a vaccine that the British-Swedish company Astrazeneca developed together with the University of Oxford is also expected shortly. The review is still ongoing, said the responsible British supervisory authority on request. Stevens said he reckons that by late spring all people at risk in the country could be vaccinated. “That is perhaps the greatest glimmer of hope for the coming year.”
Due to the difficult health situation, calls for longer schools to be closed after the Christmas holidays are growing louder. It is not safe to open schools as planned this Monday, January 4th, Zubaida Haque of the scientific panel of experts Sage told ITV. “Children have to go to school, but they have to go to a safe school.” Mass tests for schoolchildren and students are also planned. Here the government relies on the help of the military. 1500 members of the army are to support the young people, as the Ministry of Defense announced in London. However, the majority will provide help over the phone or the Internet. Schoolchildren and students should test themselves under supervision.