LONDON (AP) – As the new corona virus infections, which have been blamed on a new variant of the virus, continue to rise, British doctors warned on Friday that hospitals across the country would be at risk for weeks.
A day after the UK recorded 55,892 new infections and 964 corona virus-related deaths, concerns are growing about the impact on the prolonged National Health Service. Field hospitals built in the early days of the epidemic but later moth-eaten are being reactivated.
Mike Adams, the UK director of the Royal College of Nursing, told Sky News that the UK was “in the eye of the storm” and that it was “angry” to see people not following social distance guidance or not wearing a mask.
A leading doctor also warned that the front line of hospitals would burn down among health workers, while urging people to follow the rules.
“I’m worried,” Adrian Boyle, vice president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, told the BBC. “We’re very much on the battlefield.”
The new variant, which is said to have 70% more infections behind a large spike in London and southeastern parts of the UK, has seen new infections double in recent weeks.
Looking at the decline between new cases and hospital admissions and subsequent deaths, there is great concern about the course of the epidemic in the coming month or two, in a country where the second-highest virus-related death toll in Europe is nearly 74,000.
As a result of the spike, which has spread across the country and locking controls have been tightened, the strategy around the rolling of vaccines has changed, with a planned second delay to get early jabs to more people soon.
In a joint statement on Thursday, chief medical officers for the UK, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland said the first vaccine dose provides “substantial” protection.
Currently, two vaccines are approved for use in the UK
Less than 1 million people have received the first dose of the vaccine developed by the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the German biotechnology company Bioendech, with a minority receiving the second dose after 21 days as planned.
The vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca University of Oxford and British pharmaceutical company, was approved earlier this week., Outlined a new dosage rule, which aims to provide a quick release. This means that the second dose of both vaccines will be available within the first 12 weeks.
Four medical officials said they were “confident” that the first dose of the four vaccines would provide “substantial” protection.
“In the short term, a further increase in vaccine efficacy from the second dose will be moderate; the vast majority of early protection from clinical disease is after the first dose of the vaccine,” they said.
The new plan has faced widespread criticism, with Britain’s main union for doctors warning that delaying the second dose could cause major problems for thousands of partially vaccinated elderly and vulnerable people.
Richard Vowdry, of the British Medical Association, said: “It is unreasonable for tens of thousands of patients at our risk to try to reconsider their appointments now.”
Follow the AP coverage of the corona virus infection on https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccines and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.