Covid patients in hospital 50% more than during virus peak in April

There are now 50% more Covid patients in hospitals across the UK than there were at the peak of the pandemic’s first wave, the Chief Executive of the NHS has said.

Speaking during this evening’s Downing Street press conference, Sir Simon Stevens said: ‘We’ve got 50% more coronavirus inpatients in our hospitals than we had in the peak of the April first wave. That is true in every region in the country now, more Covid patients than back in April.

‘That number is accelerating very very rapidly. We have seen an increase of 10,000 hospitalised coronavirus patients just since Christmas Day. That is the equivalent of filling 20 acute hospitals with extra coronavirus patients.

‘And of course, many of those will be patients who caught the infection between Christmas Day and New Year, given the delay between catching the infection and becoming seriously ill.’

Sir Simon went on to emphasis that January is already typically the busiest time of year for hospitals and the NHS. He said the pressures caused by Covid ‘are real and they are growing’.

He noted: ‘In April, for every one coronavirus inpatient, we were looking after two other hospitalised patients for other conditions. Now for every one coronavirus inpatient, we are looking after three other patients with other conditions.’

He then urged people to continue following lockdown restrictions currently in place across all the country. Earlier today government data revealed that a further 52,618 cases of the virus had been recorded, along with 1,162 deaths.

During the press conference, Boris Johnson also pledged that every elderly care home resident would be offered the Covid vaccine by the end of the month. He described the vaccine roll-out as ‘a national challenge on a scale like nothing we have seen before’.

The Prime Minister said 1.26 million people had now been vaccinated in England, along with 113,000 people in Scotland, 49,000 in Wales and 46,000 in Northern Ireland.

He went on: ‘It’s thanks to the arrival of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine which can be stored at room temperature that we can accelerate the pace of vaccination in care homes.

‘We are using that vaccine in care homes for the first time today and by the end of the month we hope to have offered every elderly care home resident a vaccine.’

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