Exclusive: NHS faces third wave of Omicron mid-January in London – halfway through second wave impact
NHS leaders have been told that the impact of a third wave of Covid-19 driven by both the Delta and Omicron variants is likely to be felt in four to five weeks, the New statesman understand.
London‘s NHS predicts a possible peak around January 13, although there is a lot of uncertainty and the peak could come a week earlier.
While the extent and timing of the third wave remains unclear, NHS leaders expect the maximum number of Covid roll-up beds in London hospitals to be full by early January. They are trying to free up additional beds by freeing patients where possible, but are not optimistic that this will provide much more capacity.
Instructions for planning for surges were sent to NHS trusts and providers in a December 13 letter from Amanda Pritchard, NHS England chief executive, and Stephen Powis, NHS improvement chief executive.
the New statesman is learning that NHS leaders in the capital have been told they expect the spike to have about half of the healthcare impact the second wave had in early January 2021.
At the height of the second wave, there were a seven-day average of nearly 60,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,200 deaths each day. The number of people hospitalized for Covid-19 peaked at 39,254 on January 18, and deaths reached 8,739 in the seven days leading up to January 23.
Overall NHS activity is currently higher than it was before wave two, so insiders fear that even a wave that is half the size will add considerable pressure to broader challenges for the healthcare services.
Omicron is expected to be the dominant variant in less than two weeks, and two weeks later its specific impact will be clearer. More than 44% of cases in London come from Omicron (compared to 20% of cases in England), and Health Secretary Sajid Javid warned on December 13 that it was only 48 hours from to be the dominant strain in the capital. .
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London’s NHS is predicting a third wave of Covid-19 driven by both Delta and Omicron, with both variants currently on the rise. The difference in severity between the two is not yet clear.
NHS England did not comment on these specific details, but led the New statesman verses two letters describing plans for England.
The first letter, published on December 13, declared a “national level 4 incident” and called on providers to step up Covid-19 vaccination and treatment plans, to maximize the number of patients they can offload in safety and prepare contingency plans, among other measures.
The second, released on the same date, gave details of the recall campaign following Boris Johnson’s announcement on December 12 of the government’s goal of inviting all adults for their third jab by the end. of the year.