More virus deaths ‘baked in’, as Nightingale hospitals put on standby
Written by on 12 October 2020
More coronavirus deaths are already “baked in”, the public has been warned as three NHS Nightingale hospitals were put on standby to reopen.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, revealed there has been a “marked pickup” of COVID-19 cases since early September.
He said given more people have caught the disease, that will inevitably lead to “baked in additional deaths”.
More patients are also now in hospital – the latest figure was 3,451 – than on the day the first national lockdown was imposed on 23 March, when it was 3,097.
Presenting a new “heat map”, Prof Van-Tam said cases in northwest England have been rising first among those aged 16-29, but are now beginning to “creep” over to more vulnerable age groups.
That pattern is “likely to be followed” in the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber, he cautioned at a Downing Street news briefing on Monday.
Meanwhile, NHS Nightingale hospitals – set up during the first peak to stop the health service being overwhelmed – are being told to prepare to start accepting patients in Manchester, Sunderland and Harrogate.
Nightingale hospitals put on standby
This is because around 40% of all cases are concentrated in the North West, according to Prof Jane Eddleston, who also spoke at the news conference.
Northern England has particularly high case numbers because there they “never dropped as far as they did in the south”, added Prof Van-Tam.
But he said it was a “concern” that bigger increases in the weekly case rate had spread south “in a matter of a few days” and that “pretty much” every area is seeing cases rise.
“The COVID situation is building nationally, particularly in the North West and the North East,” Prof Van-Tam said.
“There is a massive collective responsibility on every citizen now to play their part in defeating this virus and getting it back under control.”
It comes ahead of Boris Johnson preparing to carve England into three tiers depending on their coronavirus prevelance, with some areas set for further restrictions expected to include the forced closure of pubs and bars.
The prime minister will lay out his plans in a statement to parliament at 3:30pm, then hold a news conference at around 6pm.
Over the weekend, the total number of coronavirus cases recorded in the UK passed 600,000 – rising by 12,872 to 603,716.
65 more people also died within four weeks of catching the virus, taking the total to 42,825 since the pandemic began.