UK News 'Prepare for Christmas': Vaccines won't ease winter pressures on NHS, UK's chief medics warn

02:15  05 december  2020
02:15  05 december  2020 Source:   news.sky.com

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Fears the NHS will be overwhelmed this winter are receding, with figures revealing the country is virtually Crucially, flu rates – one of the key drivers of pressure in the NHS every winter Officials hope it could be approved BEFORE Christmas but UK won ' t get hands on Moderna' s until spring.

© Other England' s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, warned against hugging elderly relatives. © ASSOCIATED PRESS A woman wearing a face mask walks backdropped by Christmas trees in Covent Garden, during England' s second coronavirus lockdown in London, Thursday, Nov.

COVID-19 will keep hospitals under continued strain in the coming months as new vaccines will only have a "marginal impact" on patient numbers over winter, the UK's chief medical officers have warned.

a woman standing in front of a flower: Social mixing at Christmas could put extra pressure on healthcare services © Sky News Screen Grab Social mixing at Christmas could put extra pressure on healthcare services

In a letter written to healthcare colleagues, the group - which includes England's Professor Chris Whitty - also said that festive gatherings were likely to put additional pressure on the NHS.

"Winter is always a challenging time for the NHS and wider health and social care service. This year will be especially hard due to COVID-19," it said.

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The health service in England has prepared for its largest ever flu protection drive to help keep people well and ease pressure on urgent care services over the colder months. Chief medical officer Chris Whitty said increasing numbers of people catching the infection puts pressure on hospital services

NHS CRISIS: Health bosses warning on 'worst winter in history'. “But despite this, the overwhelming view of NHS trusts is that without immediate “Patients will therefore be put at greater risk as local trusts won ’ t have the extra beds, staff and services they need to meet the extra demand they will face.

"Although the very welcome news about vaccines means that we can look forward to 2021 with greater optimism, vaccine deployment will have only a marginal impact in reducing numbers coming into the health service with COVID over the next three months."

a man wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a door: Professor Chris Whitty is one of the letter's signatories © Imagebridge Professor Chris Whitty is one of the letter's signatories

The letter was co-signed by Professor Whitty, Scotland's Dr Gregor Smith, Dr Frank Atherton of Wales, and their Northern Ireland counterpart Dr Michael McBride.

table: How COVID-19 vaccines ordered by the UK compare © Other How COVID-19 vaccines ordered by the UK compare

It says that while recent lockdowns in all four nations, and public adherence to social distancing and other measures, had helped slow the spread, hospital admissions and deaths would likely remain high before the spring

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'Work from home': UK chief scientific adviser warns of coronavirus risks – video. Britain must start “intense preparations ” for a second wave of The NHS test and trace system must be ramped up in time for the winter , Holgate said, as more people will be falling ill with infections that resemble

The Scottish government says the cash will ease pressure on the health service in the coming months. Watchdogs last month warned Scotland' s NHS was. She added: " Winter creates particular pressures on our health and social care system, so it' s important that we are well prepared ."

"The actions and self-discipline of the whole population during lockdowns and other restrictions have helped reduce the peak and in most parts of the four nations hospital numbers are likely to fall over the next few weeks, but not everywhere," the letter reads.

And it warns: "The social mixing which occurs around Christmas may well put additional pressure on hospitals and general practice in the New Year and we need to be ready for that."

It comes as the first supplies of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine arrived in the UK in preparation for vaccinations to start from next Tuesday.

Government ministers said 800,000 doses would be available next week, with the over-80s and care home staff first in line to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The letter praised health workers for responding "magnificently" to the challenges of the pandemic and stressed the importance of continuing support for others within the profession.

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Sage scientists have called for the UK to follow in the footsteps of France and Germany by enforcing But they warned a two-week circuit breaker will no longer be enough. The pressure for a national lockdown in the UK comes as it was this afternoon revealed that the R rate had dropped in the UK .

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van Tam said UK in a 'dangerous phase'. But he said data In other updates today: Downing Street was forced to warn police officers against 'heavy-handed' Italy is preparing to extend its lockdown until May in order to avoid a second wave, sparking fears the UK

But it added that it was "essential" that the next months were used to learn more about the virus to help inform treatments moving forward.

"We do not expect COVID to disappear even once full vaccination has occurred, although it will be substantially less important as a cause of mortality and morbidity," it said.

"It is therefore absolutely essential that we use the next months to learn as much as we can as we expect COVID to be less common in the future.

"This will allow us to have the best chance of a strong evidence base for managing it over the coming years."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also warned Britons not to allow encouraging headlines about the pandemic, including Friday's news that the UK's R number had seemingly shrunk to a four-month low, to make them complacent.

Earlier it emerged that the government's scientific advisers believe immunity from COVID-19 may only last for up to three months from the point of either infection or vaccination.

The Covid Vaccine Means We Must Delay Christmas .
If there is one thing we have learnt from the pandemic over the past year, it is that social isolation works. This is, however, an inconvenient truth in the lead up to Christmas. At the time of writing, approximately 633,000 people in England are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the past week. This is one of the highest positivity rates recorded, equivalent to one in 85 people. Mortality statistics paint a similarly grim picture, with just under 2,700 deaths in the week prior, the highest figure since May.This week also marks the end of the national lockdown.

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