Friday, March 31, 2023

UK in ‘eye of the storm’ amid surge in new coronavirus cases | News on the coronavirus pandemic

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Field hospitals that were built at the start of the pandemic, but which were then put on standby, are being reactivated.

British doctors warned on Friday that hospitals across the country face a perilous few weeks amid the surge in new coronavirus infections that have been blamed on a new variant of the virus.

A day after the UK released a record 55,892 new infections and 964 other coronavirus-related deaths, concerns are growing over the effect on the overburdened National Health Service (NHS).

Field hospitals that were built at the start of the pandemic, but which were then put on standby, are being reactivated.

The head of the Royal College of Nursing in England, Mike Adams, told Sky News the UK was in “the eye of the storm” and it was “infuriating” to see people not following the advice. social distancing or wearing masks.

A leading doctor has also warned of burnout of health workers on the front lines of the epidemic in hospitals, while urging people to follow the rules.

“I am worried,” Adrian Boyle, vice president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, told the BBC. “We are really at the combat posts.”

New infections have more than doubled in recent weeks after a new variant that is believed to be around 70% more contagious caused a significant spike in cases around London and south-east England .

Given the lag between new cases and subsequent hospitalizations and deaths, the trajectory of the pandemic over the next few months or two in a country that has the second highest number of virus-related deaths in Europe, at nearly 74,000 , is of great concern.

Due to the spike, which has spread across the country and lockdown restrictions have been tightened, the strategy for vaccine rollout has been changed so that more people get a first shot as soon as possible, with a second one. scheduled delayed.

In a joint statement Thursday, chief medical officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland said the first dose of the vaccine offered “substantial” protection.

Currently, two vaccines have been approved for use in the UK.

Just under a million people received the first dose of the vaccine developed by US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German biotech company BioNTech, with a small minority also receiving the second dose as planned after 21 days.

Along with the approval earlier this week of the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and UK pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, a new dosage regimen has been presented, aimed at accelerating deployment. This means that the second dose of both vaccines will take place within 12 weeks of the first.

The four doctors said they were “convinced” that the first dose of the two vaccines would provide “substantial” protection.

“In the short term, the further increase in vaccine efficacy from the second dose is likely to be modest; the vast majority of the initial protection against clinical disease occurs after the first dose of vaccine, ”they said.

The new plan has come under heavy criticism, with Britain’s leading doctors’ union warning that postponing the second dose is causing huge problems for thousands of partially vaccinated elderly and vulnerable people.

“It is patently unfair for tens of thousands of our most at risk patients to try now to reschedule their appointments,” said Richard Vautrey of the British Medical Association.


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