The United Kingdom continues this Saturday to deal with an alarming increase in casualties among its health workers due to COVID-19, while its hospitals receive high numbers of patients affected by the omicron variant, which affects the entire northeast and northwest of the country.
According to the most recent official data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of medical center staff in England absent due to the virus tripled in a month to 39,142 on the 2nd, making one in 12 employees in hospital critical units were not available.
Based on this, some 3.7 million people in the country were infected during the week that ended on December 31, 64% more than the previous week. National hospitals also face the highest numbers of admissions for coronavirus since last February, with a total of 18,454 admitted to the United Kingdom on the 6th, a weekly increase of 40% and the highest figure recorded since February 18, 2021.
At medical centers in Greater Manchester County (North West England) at the beginning of this week 17 hospitals had to temporarily suspend “non-urgent” operations. Two directors of foundations of hospitals of the NHS – public health service – of the northwest of the country assure that this region is taking the worst part of the wave of omicron in England.
“We are now the epicenter and there is no feeling that the problems are going to soften,” admitted one of these executives in statements published this Saturday by the British newspaper FT. In the capital, London, some 200 British servicemen have begun – since yesterday – to deploy in hospitals throughout the city to reinforce the public health service in the face of increasing casualties.
Among those soldiers, who will remain in these functions for the next three weeks, according to the Ministry of Defense, are 40 military doctors and 160 personnel.
They believe there is no need for a fourth dose
Given the rapid spread of omicron, experts from the so-called Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) believe that a fourth vaccine is not yet necessary since the current booster doses continue to provide strong protection against the serious disease derived from that variant in older people.
The latest official figures from the Health Security Agency of this country suggest that for the British population over 65, protection against hospitalizations due to COVID-19 continues to stand at 90% three months after the dose of booster or third injection.
Regarding protection against serious disease derived from the administration of two doses of the preparation, this falls to 70% three months later and to 50% after six months.
This has prompted the JCVI to recommend that the Boris Johnson Government continue, for now, to prioritize the administration of that booster injection for all adults, instead of starting to offer a fourth dose for vulnerable groups, such as the elderly. 80-year-olds or residents of nursing homes.
“Current data shows that the booster dose continues to provide high levels of protection against serious disease, even for the oldest and most vulnerable groups,” said expert Wei Shen Lim, president of the JCVI in a statement published today in the national media. .
Speaking to Times Radio today, University of Warwick expert Mike Tilsdesley opined that the omicron variant could become endemic in a similar way to common colds.
“Although we are not there yet, omicron is possibly the first ray of light that could suggest what is the same in the long term. It is much more transmissible than delta, which is worrying, but much less severe,” he said.
That expert considered that right now the situation in the northeast and northwest of the country is “particularly worrying” given the numbers of hospital admissions while in London the cases are “going down”.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.