The rising second peak is causing increased concern that our health service is near to breaking down. We must not let this happen at any cost even if we need to tighten restrictions much more. The Mayor of London has declared a major incident over the whole of London today as hospitals run out of both beds and staff. In the first week of January there has been a 42% rise in people on ventilators in London. The figure has risen from 640 to 908. Over 800 patients are being admitted to London hospitals every day with a total of over 7,000 Covid patients in hospital tonight.
The demands on the London Ambulance Service have risen from around 5,500 emergency calls per 24 hours to over 8,000 calls. Fire Brigade members have been seconded to drive ambulances, but there is a limit to the number of spare ambulances available. There are less Voluntary Aid Ambulances than there used to be. Private services and out County services are assisting. In some parts of London with rates over 1,500 cases per 100,000 there are hotspots where as many of 1 in 20 are reported to be infected.
Those interpreting the figures are concerned that the NW of England is next likely to see a surge in cases.
I published the long list of those considered to be key workers yesterday. Scientists have suggested the list is far too large and needs reducing. What do you think? How can we manage without those we decide are no longer key workers? I understand in some areas some schools are not effectively closed as over 70% of the children have key worker parents. Somebody posted I should have listed those jobs that were not key jobs as the list would have been shorter. The only way I can see doing this would be to say that they should only be in school if both parents are key workers, or from a single parent family. If one parent is not a key worker then perhaps their children should not still be eligible. It would be very difficult to police, but fair or reasonable?
We have all been led to believe that this pandemic originated in China, but there has been increasing doubt about this. A new paper which I have not been able to read yet but published in the journal Science suggests 33% of cases in the UK came from Spain in the first wave, 29% from France and 12% from Italy. China was only responsible for 0.4 % of UK cases in the first wave.
I share the concerns voice by SAGE again today that we must not abandon the rules after vaccination; it is very important that after vaccination you still respect social distancing and wear face protection outside your home. You must not relax this rule until the experts say it is safe to do so. It is some months away yet.
The statistics show we continue to break records, this crisis is far from over and we must work together. 619,941 tests were done today. This means over 56 million tests have now been done since 20th April. 68,053 were positive, a new all time high, the positive rate is now 594/100k and there has been a 30% rise in the seven-day rolling average. The death rate is also very high with 1,325 in the last 24 hours. This is over 44% rise in the last 7 days, the rate is still climbing and is now 6.7/100k.
Hospital admissions are now always a few days behind. 3,867 were admitted on 4th January, joining the 31,624 in hospital on that day. 2,929 were on a ventilator on 7th January.
Vaccines are being rolled out steadily but there are problems with the supply chain in a few areas. The vaccinators are ready and waiting but they are of little use without vaccine to use.
Nobody is to be allowed into England without evidence of a negative Covid test within 72 hours. This will not apply to those travelling from other parts of the UK or Southern Ireland. Lorry drivers are exempt this requirement. Do please remember that you are not allowed to travel at all for leisure or holidays. Police have been checking where cars are registered and checking why they are far from home. Do not get caught if you should be at home.
An immigration centre has had to close tonight because of an outbreak and residents have been transferred elsewhere.
Finally, a large sink hole has appeared in a car park at a hospital, packed with Covid patients in Naples. It covers over 2,000 square yards in area and some 20 yards deep. Although several cars were eaten by the hole, miraculously no one was hurt as the car park was almost empty, late at night. Water and electricity supplies to the hospital were cut but restored quite quickly.
It is just more of the same please; wait patiently at home in doors. Wear a mask now I think whenever outside in a public space, stay at least 2 metres apart and do the minimum of shopping you need to.
Please stay safe and as always share what’s on your mind or in your heart.