Although the numbers of infections in Britain are slowly declining, the number of hospitalizations remains risky. “Every thirty seconds, a corona patient is hospitalized somewhere in England,” said Simon Stevens, head of UK health care NHS to the BBC. “In the history of the NHS, which has existed since 1948, there has never been a crisis that has put so much pressure on the system.”
It puts a lot of pressure on hospitals, especially in London. Although, despite the fear that things would go wrong, no hospital has succumbed to pressure. And the positive news: the R number, the indicator of how fast the virus spreads, has fallen to 0.6 thanks to the rigorous lockdown in the capital, as the University of Cambridge calculated. That would mean that the number of infections no longer grows exponentially.
The Dutch doctor Anna Prent (40) is in the middle of all the hectic daily. She is a vascular surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital in northern London, but since almost all regular care and planned surgery in the hospital have been eliminated, she focuses mainly on everything that happens in the intensive care unit.
In the video, Prent tells her what she is experiencing in her work, now that the pressure on the hospital is enormous:
“ We only treat covid patients here,” says Prent via Zoom from the hospital. “And patients who need surgery within 24 hours because otherwise they will die. There is no place for all other patients.”
She no longer fears that the hospital will no longer be able to cope with this huge influx of patients. “Were on the border, but dont cross it. We make good use of hospitals in parts of England where things are better, we have a good logistics network, so people are always taken to hospitals where there is still room. Thats still going well so far.”
More factors are causing infection
The infectious-new variant of the virus, which first appeared in England, seems to have played an important role in the rapid spread in recent weeks in the British capital. All studies of that mutant show that it is much more contagious than previous variants. Nevertheless, according to Prent, more factors play a role – something that Marcel Levi, the Dutchman who controls several London hospitals, said earlier at Jinek.
“ No, you cant put everything on that new variant,” says Prent. “There are a lot of factors involved. Its winter, people are more susceptible now anyway. Of course, the contagiousness contributed to it, but its really wider than that.” The pre-Christmas period, when Boris Johnsons government waited a long time to reverse the eases during Christmas and finally relocked the country until the beginning of January, would also have played an important role in the tremendous upswing.
Print notes that the absenteeism among the staff is increasing. And that she also sometimes finds it difficult to stay positive. “It is sometimes frustrating, tiring too. Especially since we dont know when it ends. And then its hard to stay positive. Then you sometimes have a baaldag yes.”
“ But I can hold it up. I took an oath as a doctor to take care of people. And at the same time, it also gives a lot of satisfaction. That despite this huge crisis, you can really contribute something. That gives a nice feeling.”