dpa/GNA – Chris Whitty, the chief medical adviser to the British government, issued a stark warning about the situation hospitals face as case numbers continue to soar.
“If the virus continues on this trajectory, hospitals will be in real difficulties, and soon. The time people wait for care will continue to increase to potentially unsafe levels,” Whitty said in an editorial for the Sunday Times newspaper.
Such levels could be reached in less than three weeks’ time, he wrote. “The time people wait for care will continue to increase to potentially unsafe levels.”
“Hospitals are always busy in winter, but the NHS in some parts of the country is currently facing the most dangerous situation anyone can remember,” he said.
His comments come as rising numbers of patients are admitted to intensive case.
“Hospitals will not have room to take redirected emergency cases in regional networks. Staff-to-patient ratios — already stretched — will become unacceptable even in intensive care,” Whitty said.
“There will be avoidable deaths,” Whitty said, and appealed to people to follow the guidelines to prevent the virus from spreading, and avoid unnecessary interactions that could lead to further cases.
Case numbers are particularly high in London, where Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a “major incident,” as hospitals are already at their limits.
The number of new infections per week per 100,000 inhabitants, or seven-day incidence, in London is now more than 1,000.
A further 1,035 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Saturday, the government announced, bringing the national total death toll to 80,868. Many say the true number is higher, however.