British hospitals are resisting the Omicron wave for now

Admission to St Thomas' Hospital in central London on 23 December 2021.

While the UK was the first European country affected by Omicron – the first case was detected on 28 November All public health experts examine it. With a new variant that is both more contagious but apparently causes milder forms of the disease, one of the main tests is whether UK hospitals are about to be overwhelmed.

For now, the first signs appear to be encouraging. “Well at the moment, it’s nothing compared to the previous waves”, says an anesthetist at a hospital in south London, who requests anonymity. “It’s not the same disease anymore, John Bell, Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford, has been very involved in the development of the AstraZeneca vaccine, said on the BBC. The gruesome scenes of last year – intensive care full, many people dying prematurely – are history. , Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, makes the same diagnosis, albeit with a little more caution: “No one knows for sure whether hospitals will be swept away by the wave, but I think they will not. ,

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Previously national statistics – incomplete during this holiday season, where statements are sometimes compiled late – are rather reassuring, showing a gap between the number of cases and hospitalizations. On Wednesday, 29 December, the United Kingdom has registered 183,000 positive people in the last twenty-four hours, the highest level since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over seven days, the daily average is 130,000, which is two and a half times the peak of the alpha wave in January. But in the United Kingdom with 10,400 patients, the number of hospitalizations is three to four times lower than 34,000 in January. Even in London, where this wave began, hospitals are in shock: they are currently treating 3,300 patients, a far cry from 7,800 in January. “In absolute value, levels remain relatively low”, The professor insists on Bell.

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These figures can also give a distorted picture of reality. “Many patients going to the hospital have covid, but they are not due to covid, Chris Hopson, director of NHS Providers, an organization representing English hospitals, explains. For example, we have many people who fell off their bikes and broke their arms or hit their heads. They don’t have any symptoms, but when they come, they take a COVID test which turns out to be positive. ,

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