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Waiting for things to get worse before acting is not the best way to deal with it, say doctors

By Ashish Joshi, Health Correspondent

The pressure increases with each new infection, but the government says it will not press the Plan B button. The prime minister said his science advisers have warned him that this is exactly where we would be at. approaching winter.

Today we have registered 50,000 new cases for the first time in three months. Yesterday the Secretary of Health warned that we could see 100,000 cases per day.

We know that an increase in cases means an increase in hospitalizations. We can already see it.

We also know that an increase in hospitalizations means an increase in deaths. Unfortunately, we see it too. But, and here is the crucial thing regarding Boris Johnson. Fortunately, we don’t see the same number of people dying in the same way as in the first and second waves.

The reason is because of the vaccine. And that is why the government will not introduce interventions like compulsory masks. He wants to move on. The reintroduction of NPIs (non-pharmaceutical interventions) will delay the country’s economic recovery.

But health workers say the government failed to take into account several critical factors. Yes, they agree, it’s true that the vaccine works to protect people against disease and death, but immunity to the vaccine may start to wane. They point to Scotland where there is recent data to support it.

This winter will also be the first we have COVID with the flu and other seasonal respiratory illnesses circulating together. A bad winter with just one can be devastating enough.

Then there is the growing waiting list and urgent treatments that must continue. All this as hospitals cede more bed and staff space to COVID patients.

It is therefore not surprising that morale is so low among NHS staff. They are naturally exhausted and dread what winter threatens to bring them.

So, while they take a look at the big picture and the strain it will put on health services, the PM may choose to focus on a smaller set of data telling him it’s not as bad as it is. ‘before. He accepts that this can change very suddenly. We have seen this happen before.

But what senior doctors are asking is why wait? In the words of a senior intensive care consultant, “I’m pretty sure there is no rush where waiting for the situation to get worse before taking action is the best way to handle it.”


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