England’s Covid-19 Lockdown Redux

My apologies for the rather more than brief hiatus in this series of articles. One reason is that on June 18th The Guardian reported that:

The government has been forced to abandon a centralised coronavirus contact-tracing app after spending three months and millions of pounds on technology that experts had repeatedly warned would not work.

In an embarrassing U-turn, Matt Hancock said the NHS would switch to an alternative designed by the US tech companies Apple and Google, which is months away from being ready.

Another reason is that I am currently sat at my keyboard on Burrator Ward at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, where I am recovering from a non trivial triple coronary artery bypass operation, and have just washed my hands in accordance with the instructions in the unisex toilets:

There are other reasons too, but for now let’s continue with the latest news from the Downing Street propaganda machine:

Amongst a variety of other words uttered during yesterday evening’s press conference Boris Johnson had this to say:

Even in the South West, where incidence was so low, and still is so low, it is now clear that current projections mean they will run out of hospital capacity in a matter of weeks unless we act.

And let me explain why the overrunning of the NHS would be a medical and moral disaster beyond the raw loss of life

Because the huge exponential growth in the number of patients – by no means all of them elderly, by the way – would mean that doctors and nurses would be forced to choose which patients to treat

Who would get oxygen and who wouldn’t

Who would live and who would die,

And doctors and nurses would be forced to choose between saving covid patients and non-covid patients

And the sheer weight of covid demand would mean depriving tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of non-covid patients of the care they need

It is crucial to grasp this that the general threat to public health comes not from focusing too much on covid, but from not focusing enough, from failing to get it under control.

I am told that it is quite normal to experience a wide range of emotions when recovering from a major operation.

This morning I awoke in a howling rage. My blood pressure is currently 134/82.

[Edit – November 6th]

A video update from Ann James, Chief Executive of University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust:

Our [Covid-19] numbers are beginning to rise, and they’re rising quite quickly. So at a really important time, a critical time, we set out what our next steps are to make sure that we can keep everyone safe and supported during what I know is another really difficult time for everyone.

We have already needed to make some changes to the hospital. We’ve had to change the use of some of our wards as we increasingly care for a growing number of Covid patients, and we’re looking to change some of our other services.

5 replies on “England’s Covid-19 Lockdown Redux”

My 6 AM obs provided the perfect conclusion to this article. The nurse who took the readings told me she had contracted Covid-19 back in March. Inadequate PPE seems the likely cause?

The nurse who looked after me later that morning told me she had contracted Covid-19 back in April.

Before my recent angiogram a patient with a hacking cough was moved, presumably to a room of his own somewhere, and the doors to our room were shut. A few hours later we were told his Covid-19 swab test had come back negative, the doors were reopened and I was then moved to another ward.

When do you suppose a Covid-19 test on a Derriford cardiac ward staff member or patient will next come back positive?

A pertinent comment following this evening’s Covid-19 briefing:

A related article from Shaun Lintern in The Independent:

Tens of thousands of NHS staff are off sick or self-isolating because of coronavirus, according to data shared with The Independent as the second wave grows.

In some parts of northern England, more than 40 per cent – in some cases almost 50 per cent – of all staff absences are linked to Covid-19, heaping pressure on already stretched hospitals trying to cope with a surge in virus patients.

The problem has sparked more calls for wider testing of NHS staff from hospital leaders and nursing unions who warned safety was being put at risk because of short staffing on wards.

Across England, more than 76,200 NHS staff were absent from work on Friday – equivalent to more than 6 per cent of the total workforce. This included 25,293 nursing staff and 3,575 doctors.

More than a third of Friday’s total, 27,136, were off work because they were either infected with coronavirus or forced to self-isolate.

Covid-19 cases are rising fast in Plymouth:

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