Omicron Gb variant, London empties hospitals: risk of 200,000 cases per day

The English health service asks the structures to prepare: they need beds for the covid patients

The Omicron variant raises the alarm in England. While British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces the first victim of the variant – in addition to a dozen hospitalizations – and urges the symptoms not to be underestimated, British hospitals are preparing to face the “tidal wave” – ​​to use the prime minister’s words. – and are preparing to free up beds for covid patients, in a scenario where Omicron could cause up to 200,000 cases per day.

Doctors are asking for further restrictive measures – with a more extensive mask requirement – and the English health service sends a communication to the hospitals: all patients must be discharged before Christmas who can find accommodation in nursing homes, in their homes or in hotels . Beds need to be cleared, as the country is facing a Level 4 emergency.

The setting up of assistance structures in converted hotels has already begun. To serve, the Guardian writes, are workers from Spain and Greece. In hospitals, routine benefits are reduced and limited to emergency management. The extra-covid priority will be reserved for cancer patients and patients waiting for an operation for some time.

The plan is flanked by the vaccination campaign which aims to administer 1 million doses per day. In reality, according to the British Medical Association, this effort would not be enough to stop the spread of the Omicron variant: the booster dose of vaccine, needed to raise the level of protection, cannot currently be administered to one in 4 people.

The pool of subjects exposed to the contagion, therefore, is very rich. Doctors therefore ask for the return of masks in pubs and restaurants, the restoration of the spacing rules (2 meters) in closed spaces, the limit of participation in events, ventilation systems in schools, increase in rapid tests and solicitations to use in Ffp2 masks in place of surgical masks.

Johnson, who focuses heavily on accelerating vaccinations, cannot rule out a tightening of measures: the assessment should arrive on December 18. All options are on the table, including early closure of schools before Christmas: this would be “the last resort”. The teachers denounce the “chaos” in the classrooms, with a significant number of students forced to stay at home between positivity and isolation.

The picture is conditioned by the potential risk of 200,000 omicron cases per day, as Health Minister Sajid Javid said. Currently, 20% of covid cases in England already depend on the variant. In London, the share rises to 44%: Omicron is expected to become dominant in the capital within a couple of days.