Latest developments

COVID-19 latest developments

  • Daily COVID-19 statistics
  • Confed: Better test and trace figures appear reassuring, but still incumbent on all of us to keep to restrictions
  • Confed: Latest urgent and emergency care sitrep paints very concerning picture
  • Patel leads No 10 press conference
  • Hancock answers UQ on vaccine roll-out in the Commons
  • NHS staff encouraged to seek help for mental health issues
  • Interim findings from REACT study
  • NHS delivers COVID-19 jabs from cinema and mosque
  • London buses turned into ambulances to ease COVID-19 strain
  • NHS commandeers private hospitals in attempt to recover cancer surgery
  • Leading region’s vaccine supply to be halved so others can catch up
  • European Office webinar: What does the new Brexit trade deal mean for the NHS?

Daily COVID-19 statistics

The government’s latest available daily COVID-19 statistics show that:

  • Today, 37,892 people tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Today, 1,290 people sadly died within 28 days of having tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Sunday 17 January, 3,709 patients were admitted to hospital with COVID-19.
  • On Tuesday 19 January, 38,676 COVID-19 patients were still in hospital.
  • On Wednesday 20 January, 3,953 COVID-19 patients were in ventilation beds.
  • The total number of people who had received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to Wednesday 20 January was 4,973,248.
  • The total number of people who had received their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to Wednesday 20 January was 464,036.
  • On Wednesday 20 January, 640,856 new tests for COVID-19 were conducted.

Confed: Better test and trace figures appear reassuring, but still incumbent on all of us to keep to restrictions

The latest NHS Test and Trace figures appeared to be reassuring, revealing a 15 per cent drop in new cases, but other figures, for example from the REACT-1 survey, were less positive.

The statistics reveal that it “is still incumbent on all of us to continue abiding by restrictions”, aid Dr Layla McCay, director at the NHS Confederation.

Confed: Latest urgent and emergency care sitrep paints very concerning picture

The latest urgent and emergency care sitrep painted a worrying picture, with more people in critical care.

Dr Layla McCay, director at the NHS Confederation, said the figures show yet again that as part of the relentless strain on all parts of the health service caused by the pandemic, pressures within hospitals have been rising fast.

Patel leads No 10 press conference

This afternoon, Home Secretary Priti Patel led a press conference from Downing Street alongside Dr Vin Diwakar, NHS England's regional medical director for London, and Martin Hewitt, Chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council.

During the conference, Ms Patel:

  • announced the introduction from next week of an £800 fine to those attending house parties in England, which would double for each repeat offence up to a maximum of £6,400
  • stated that the police had her “absolute backing” to enforce COVID-19 restrictions.

Also during the briefing, Dr Diwakar:

  • emphasised that there is a “growing network” of vaccination hubs
  • updated that while it is still “early”, there are some signs that the current lockdown is working, but that “has not fed through to intensive care” numbers, as there is a delay between cases and hospital admissions
  • suggested that holding a house party was the equivalent of turning on “a light in the middle of a blackout in the Blitz”
  • noted the existence in some communities of “entirely legitimate concerns” about vaccines, which derive from “long-standing concerns” in some Asian and black communities that date back to “unethical experiments” conducted in the early part of the last century. However, Dr Diwakar sought to reassure those who are reluctant to receive the vaccine.

Hancock answers UQ on vaccine roll-out in the Commons

This morning, the Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock responded to an urgent question (UQ) in the House of Commons concerning the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine.

During the UQ, Mr Hancock informed MPs that 63 per cent of elderly residents in care homes have now received a COVID-19 vaccination, “a really significant increase over the last week”. Mr Hancock added that the government is “on track” to deliver its goal of vaccinating all elderly care home residents by the end of this month.

Responding to a question from Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Munira Wilson about data from Israel suggesting the efficacy from one dose of the Pfizer vaccine may be lower than first expected, Mr Hancock assured that around 89 per cent efficacy is reached between days 14 and 21 after receiving a first dose of the Pfizer jab. He also stated that data support the UK's decision to delay administering people with a second dose of the vaccine until 12 weeks after their first dose.

The transcript of today’s UQ is available to read in Hansard.

NHS staff encouraged to seek help for mental health issues

A survey by the Royal College of Physicians shows one in four doctors have sought mental health support during the COVID-19 crisis.

In response, Rebecca Smith, managing director of NHS Employers urged staff to seek help for mental health issues if they need it. She also noted that an “honest conversation will be needed about how quickly the NHS can spring back once this peak subsides”.

Interim findings from REACT study

The latest results from the Imperial College REACT-1 study show COVID-19 infections in England “have plateaued at the highest level recorded by a REACT study, with suggestions of a potential uptick”.

More than 142,900 volunteers were tested in England from 6 to 15 January 2021, and national prevalence of COVID-19 increased from 0.91% in early December to 1.58%.

NHS delivers COVID-19 jabs from cinema and mosque

NHS England has said new sites have started to offer the COVID-19 vaccine for those in the highest priority groups. This includes a mosque in Birmingham, and a cinema.

These venues join high street pharmacies, which began delivering the jabs last week. Another 65 pharmacy sites are joining the programme soon.

London buses turned into ambulances to ease COVID-19 pressure

NHS staff are preparing to transport patients using two London buses that have been converted into makeshift ambulances, the Guardian reports.

Most of the seats on the single-decker buses have been removed so that each can carry four patients, in an attempt to relieve the pressure on hospitals and the London ambulance service.

NHS commandeers private hospitals in attempt to recover cancer surgery

The HSJ reports that “surge” clauses allowing the NHS to take over private hospitals, as it did in the spring, have been triggered in some areas.

An email from NHS England to private hospitals in London, seen by the HSJ, was sent last week, and triggered a seven-day notice period under NHSE’s COVID-19 contracts with the providers.

Leading region’s vaccine supply to be halved so others can catch up

The HSJ also reports the North East and Yorkshire region has been told its COVID-19 vaccine supply via primary care will be cut in half next week, mainly because it is ahead of other areas in vaccinating the eligible population.

The planned reduction also suggests national supply from manufacturers could remain heavily constrained next week, contrary to hopes it will ramp up substantially. 

European Office webinar: What does the new Brexit trade deal mean for the NHS?

On 29 January at 11am, the NHS Confederation European Office will hold an event looking at the impact of the Brexit deal on the NHS and wider health sector that supports it.

Members are invited to attend to catch up on where we are in the process, get a full rundown of the agreements that have implications for health, hear about what change can be expected and when, and where they can find the latest advice and guidance on Brexit issues.

 

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