June 20, 2021

Covid-19: Concern at ‘unprecedented’ infection level in England

England’s “very high” Covid infection level is a “growing concern” as the NHS struggles to cope with rising patient numbers, a health official has said.On Monday, a record 41,385 Covid cases and 357 deaths were reported in the UK.NHS England said the number of people being treated for the virus in hospital is now 20,426, which is higher than the previous peak of about 19,000 in April.Health officials in Wales and Scotland have also said they are at risk of becoming overwhelmed.Monday’s figure for new cases is the highest daily number reported by the UK government, and the first time the daily total has surpassed 40,000.It is thought the infection rate was much higher during the first peak in April, but testing capacity was too limited to detect the true number.Some data over the Christmas period is incomplete, as a result of certain services being paused.BBC health editor Hugh Pym said Monday’s figure included some infections where reporting was delayed, but that officials did not deny there had been a significant increase in infections.Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said: “This very high level of infection is of growing concern at a time when our hospitals are at their most vulnerable, with new admissions rising in many regions.””Despite unprecedented levels of infection, there is hope on the horizon,” she added.Dr Doyle urged members of the public to “continue to play our part in stopping the spread of the virus” as the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine is rolled out.Hospitals in Wales, Scotland and the south of England have reported rising pressure on their services as the number of Covid patients increases.Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, south-east London, said on Monday that an “internal incident” over its “high number of Covid-positive patients” had been ongoing since Sunday.”All our patients have received the treatment they need, including intensive care treatment for Covid-19 and oxygen therapy as required.”We are continuing to monitor the situation to ensure that this remains the case,” a spokesperson for Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust said.

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