Coronavirus could overwhelm NHS 'within weeks'

Revealed: 71% of coronavirus intensive care patients are male and the average age is 64 as the number needing life or death care doubles every three days, senior doctors reveal

  • Coronaviruses have been found to affect men more severely than women
  • Although the elderly are most vulnerable to the disease, younger people have been warned against thinking they are not susceptible to the viral disease
  • Patients needing the highest level of help soared from 50 on the 9th March to almost 200 on the 19th March doubling every three days since the beginning
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

An intensive care audit has revealed that the majority of those affected by coronavirus are male by a strong majority of 71 per cent. 

According to the Observer, a report from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC), has counted the admissions to critical care units from the start of the crisis until midnight last Thursday. 

The numbers of patients in the UK needing treatment for the coronavirus has doubled every three days since the pandemic began and the NHS could soon be overwhelmed by patients. 

Nurses at Northwick Park Hospital dress in protective gear to treat patients with coronavirus

Despite warnings that the virus mainly affects the elderly, the median age was only 64 with 37 per cent of patients were under 60.        

Coronavirus patients needing the highest level of help soared from 50 on the 9th March to almost 200 on 19th March with London bearing the brunt of these admissions. 

Senior doctors are now concerned this dramatic increase could be seen nationwide within a few weeks and are warning hospitals outside the capital to prepare for an influx of patients. 

This weekend’s announcement that there were 56 new deaths in the UK has raised concerns hospitals could run out of intensive care beds within weeks. 

The NHS has ramped u its efforts to control the coronavirus and is increasing the rate at which protective equipment is delivered to clinicians who say they are running out of face masks

Deputy chair of the British Medical Association’s consultants committee Simon Walsh said: ‘Unless the trajectory is very significantly changed by the government’s measures, then the demands at the peak are going to massively exceed our critical care bed capacity across the UK.’ 

What the previous studies say 

 A study conducted by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last month which published the largest analysis of coronavirus cases to date found that although men and women had been infected in roughly equal numbers, the death rate among men was 2.8 per cent, compared with 1.7 per cent among women.

That same report found that men also were disproportionately affected during the Sars and Mers outbreaks, which were caused by different coronavirus strains. 

According to another study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, despite more women than men being infected by Sars in Hong Kong in 2003, the death rate among men was 50 per cent higher.

London hospitals have also had to cope with members of staff having to self-isolate with one teaching hospital reporting 300 staff in isolation. 

Northwick Park hospital had to declare a ‘critical incident’ last Thursday when it had too few staff to handle the influx of coronavirus patients.

A shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves has also been an issue. 

GMB union representative, Rachel Harrison, who represents NHS ambulance workers, said: ‘The main issue is that the stuff that is coming through, particularly masks, is out of date,’ some by seven years,’ but welcomed the increased rate at which new equipment was being delivered to hospitals.  

When the ICNARC study looked at 33 of the patients, it was found that 16 died while 17 survived recovered. 

These patients spent three days on average in intensive care before dying, or recovering enough to be moved out of intensive care. 

Only 18 of the total number of patients were reported to have ‘severe co-morbidities’, such as an underlying heart conditions and sixty-three per cent were overweight or obese. 

A deal made between the NHS and the private health care sector means that more beds, ventilators and 20,000 qualified extra staff will be made available from next week. 

 

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