Responding to the final REACT-1 Imperial College London study on COVID-19 prevalence Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said:
“We are now seeing record numbers of people currently infected with Covid, and it’s particularly concerning to note the unprecedented and still rising levels in older people.
“Nearly 20,000 people are now in hospital with Covid in England and the NHS, and its exhausted staff, are once again really struggling to cope with increasing admissions and bed occupancy.
“NHS leaders and their teams are increasing their Covid services and reopening coronavirus wards, but the Government must take heed, combined with chronic staff shortages, and a waiting list backlog that now tops 6.1m, we really need a realistic conversation about the current situation in the health service.
“Rather than setting unreasonable, unrealistic and over-ambitious targets that do little to tangibly support and improve health services for patients right now, the government needs to come clean with the public about what they can expect from the NHS now and in the months ahead.”