The average patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19 are now younger and getting less sick, an NHS chief has said.
Chief Executive of NHS Providers Chris Hopson said hospital admissions are ‘consistently a lot lower’ than in previous waves with less patients dying.
He said although infection rates are rising steadily as the Delta – or Indian – variant spreads, there is ‘increasing confidence’ that vaccines have ‘broken the chain’ between infection and hospitalisation.
NHS leaders working in Covid hotspot areas are also reporting declining inpatient numbers and community infection rates, added Mr Hopson.
In a lengthy Twitter thread revealing the latest findings, the NHS boss tweeted: ‘Patients admitted are, on average, younger with less requirement for critical care, more treatment in general & acute beds, lower acuity and lower mortality rates.
‘Third. Very low numbers of COVID-19 admissions where patients have had two vaccinations and protection build up post second jab.
‘Trusts tell us the vast majority of those people who have had two vaccinations and need hospital care also have pronounced co-morbidities.’
Although the data is promising, he was quick to caution that ‘significant risks’ remain and should be taken into account when making a final decision on June 21 plans.
He highlighted that the Delta strain is ‘clearly significantly more transmissible than other variants’, while the health secretary yesterday confirmed that it is 40% more so than the Kent strain.
Mr Hopson also pointed to the large numbers of people who are yet to receive their second vaccine dose and the period of time needed afterwards to build up protection against the virus.
Thirdly, he raised concerns over the pressure the ‘very busy’ NHS remains under with a long backlog to work through, and stretched urgent care services that are dealing with patients with ‘more complex’ conditions following lockdown.
He said the summer weather and an increase in mental health crisis admissions are further immediate pressures.
Mr Hopson added: ‘Important to remember that NHS already had insufficient hospital capacity before we went in to COVID-19.
‘And current hospital capacity is significantly reduced because of the need for rigorous infection control which also adds much greater complexity to care provision.’
His comments came after the health secretary yesterday confirmed the Government is ‘absolutely open’ to pushing back the unlocking if necessary – despite the prime minister last week saying he ‘still sees nothing in the data’ to suggest a delay.
Step four of the Government’s road map out of lockdown would see all legal limits on social contact removed from June 21, with nightclubs allowed to reopen, while restrictions on performances, weddings and mass events would also be lifted.
But a growing number of experts have urged the Government to push back the date amid concerns over the Delta variant, following an almost 80% spike in infections in just a week.
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