The authorities are desperate to say it’s not as extreme as it looks, as testing has increased significantly, meaning more infections are being discovered than before.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t as bad as it looks. 41,385 new infections in a single day is an astonishing amount.
And of course, not everybody is being tested every day, so undoubtedly more infections are being missed.
The number of new deaths – 357 – is a significant decrease on the highs of more than 600. It is still equivalent to more than two disasters such as plane or train crashes, though.
The fall in the number of deaths may be at least a hint that vaccination is starting to work.
But the toll on our hospitals has reached a new high point – at a time when the National Health Service is at its lowest ebb in years due to more than a decade of Conservative underfunding and the loss of staff who have been turned away by Tory underpayment policies.
Hospitals have been told to free up every possible bed – meaning other treatments and procedures will be delayed (again) – to make way for an influx of very sick patients. This increase has been worsened by the new strain of the virus and Boris Johnson’s decision to delay taking any action over it for almost four whole months.
In a six-page letter to NHS care providers on 23 December, health service chiefs said:
“With Covid-19 inpatient numbers rising in almost all parts of the country, and the new risk presented by the variant strain of the virus, you should continue to plan on the basis that we will remain in a level four incident for at least the rest of this financial year and NHS trusts should continue to safely mobilise all of the available surge capacity over the coming weeks.”
Part of the problem is that, despite the Conservative government’s insistence that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is now available, it has been denied to almost two-thirds of medics who have asked for it:
A new survey reveals that almost two-thirds of medics who responded to it have still not had the vaccine, half believe its delivery to the NHS frontline has been “ad hoc” and a third have no idea when they will be offered it.
Not only that, but hospitals are suffering their own individual emergencies, like Queen Elizabeth Hospital in London, which had to divert emergency patients to other hospitals because excessive demand by Covid-19 sufferers had caused a shortage of oxygen.
It is the latest in a string of London hospitals to declare major incidents in the past 10 days.
It’s a cascade.
Patients with other conditions are turned away because scant resources have been diverted to handle Covid-19, because Boris Johnson couldn’t be bothered to take the right precautions at the right time, Tory leaders before him systematically stripped the UK of its ability to handle virus, and long-term Conservative policy has been to deny resources to the NHS in order to fool the public into thinking a private health service would be better.
You can see as easily as I can that responsibility lies with a single group: the Conservatives.
It doesn’t change the fact that the UK faces a very clear and pressing crisis.
This Writer would urge everybody with the necessary abilities to do everything they can to help.
But whatever happens, don’t let the Tories take the credit for it.
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