Hospital admissions for Covid stand at 3,090 – the same level as when lockdown was imposed in March – but the R rate has gone down
- The number of coronavirus patients has increased more than six-fold since the beginning of September alone
- One expert from the Government’s SAGE says we are ‘very close to the situation at the beginning of March’
- Health officials believe that hospitals are now in danger of being overwhelmed with coronavirus patients
Hospital admissions for Covid-19 are back to the same level as when the lockdown was imposed.
Yesterday there were 3,090 coronavirus patients in hospitals across England, compared with 3,097 on March 23, the date Boris Johnson announced the lockdown.
The number of patients has almost doubled in a fortnight and increased more than six-fold since the beginning of September, when only 472 were in hospital.
The number of cases is also at its highest level since the peak of the first wave in April, with about one in 170 currently infected, research published yesterday showed.
Yesterday there were 3,090 coronavirus patients in hospitals across England, compared with 3,097 on March 23, the date Boris Johnson announced the lockdown
Health officials believe hospitals are in danger of being overwhelmed with coronavirus patients, causing the cancellation of cancer surgery and routine operations. A member of staff is seen caring for a Covid-19 patient at the Intensive Care unit at Royal Papworth Hospital, Cambridge in May
However, there are promising signs that the ‘rule of six’ is helping to curb the epidemic. A study found that Covid-19 cases are doubling every three to four weeks – down from every seven days at the beginning of September.
The Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said the R rate – the average number of people infected by someone with the virus – had fallen slightly. It estimated it now stands at between 1.2 and 1.5, down from between 1.3 and 1.6 the week before.
The scientists said: ‘While the R value remains above 1.0, infections will continue to grow at an exponential rate. As the number of cases increases, we would expect to also see an increase in the number of people being admitted to hospital and deaths.’
Experts warned that the UK was in a perilous position, with tighter restrictions needed urgently. Sir Mark Walport, a member of Sage, said: ‘On March 19, just before the first set of widespread restrictions, hospital admissions were 586 in England and on October 6 they were 524.
‘So we are very close to the situation at the beginning of March.’
Deaths are also increasing, with a further 87 reported yesterday, along with 13,864 new cases. There is usually a lag of one to two weeks between people getting infected and being admitted to hospital.
Health officials believe hospitals are in danger of being overwhelmed with coronavirus patients, causing the cancellation of cancer surgery and routine operations.
The situation in the North West is particularly alarming, with 1,100 patients now in hospital in the region, up from just 117 at the beginning of September.
Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics estimated that 224,400 people in England had the virus in the week ending October 1, up from 116,000 the previous week.
It calculated that there were 17,200 new daily cases, up from 8,400 a week earlier. This is the highest daily figure recorded by the ONS since the end of April.
The situation in the North West is particularly alarming, with 1,100 patients now in hospital in the region, up from just 117 at the beginning of September. A Covid-19 patient is pictured being transferred through a corridor at the Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital, in Blackburn in May