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Omicron Covid Variant Could Overwhelm NHS Even If Less Serious, Says Javid | Coronavirus | News Today

Omicron Covid Variant Could Overwhelm NHS Even If Less Serious, Says Javid | Coronavirus

| Breaking News Updates | World News

Hospitals are already operating between 94% and 96% of their capacity, the organization that represents the NHS trusts has warned, as Sajid Javid said there have been no known deaths from the Omicron variant in English hospitals until now.

There were so far 10 people in English hospitals with the variant, the health secretary said, noting that although Omicron was generally less severe than the Delta variant it is supplanting, the large number of cases would always put the health service under severe constraints.

His comments came as Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers, said a shortage of social care staff and the removal of some beds to control coronavirus infections meant hospitals were trying to operate with 30% to 35% fewer beds.

Hopson told Sky News: ‘For this time of year the NHS is busier than it has ever been before. This is obviously a concern because it is before the traditional winter peak in January and it is before any type of case really hits the hospitals – which are now starting to do so – in terms of the Omicron case. “

NHS Providers, a membership organization that represents NHS trusts, said hospitals were already operating between 94% and 96% of capacity.

Stressing the need for a massive increase in the number of boosters administered in December, as announced by Boris Johnson in a televised address on Sunday evening, Javid said Omicron was spreading at an enormous rate, already accounting for 40% of all infections with Covid in London. .

Asked about deaths from the variant, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today show: “I don’t know of any confirmed cases at this time. There are currently 10 confirmed hospitalizations in English hospitals. There are also some in Scottish hospitals.

“But in terms of hospitalizations and deaths, what we have learned about this virus is that there is always a lag between infection and serious illness, hospitalization and, unfortunately, death. “

Omicron’s “phenomenal” spread was unlike anything seen before during the pandemic, Javid said: “A lot of people claim it’s less serious, but let’s see, let’s get the facts straight. Even though it is less severe, a smaller percentage of infected people with severe illness is still a huge number if put against a large number of infections. “

The “new national mission” of seeking to provide boosters, which have been shown to significantly increase protection against the two-dose variant, to as many adults as possible by the end of the month, would mean that some non-urgent NHS appointments would be postponed, Javid warned.

“These decisions are not easy, but at some point the capacity of the NHS is limited,” he said, stressing that this shouldn’t affect anything more urgent, like the search for people with potential symptoms of Cancer.


As the recall campaign ramped up, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents the healthcare system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, told BBC Radio’s Today program 4: “The health service was already under unprecedented pressure, and this will mean that other important parts of the NHS work will have to be put on hold in order to be able to achieve this. “

He added: “It is really important that the government is clear with the public about the consequences this is going to have for what the rest of the health services are going to deliver.”

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