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  • Writer's pictureRichard Cree

Freedom Day

Updated: Jul 21, 2021

20th July 2021

UK COVID Deaths – Daily 96 / 7-Day average 49

Total UK COVID Deaths within 28 days – 128,823

Total UK Deaths with COVID-19 on the death certificate – 153,070 (up to 09 Jul)

All COVID cases within South Tees Hospitals Trust – 94

James Cook Critical Care

COVID cases – 12 (10 ventilated)

Non-COVID cases – 33 (15 ventilated)

Freedom Day came and went yesterday with surprisingly little fanfare. I spent most of the day cutting my garden hedge and getting repeatedly stung by wasps. By the time I put away the hedge trimmer it was already quite late in the evening and I was good for very little other than opening a cold beer and flopping in front of the television. It was a shame, as the end of almost all legal restrictions designed to minimise the spread of COVID-19 should really have been something to celebrate. But, with the third wave still in ascendance, the end of the pandemic continues to remain out of sight. Where we will be in a month’s time is anyone’s guess. Some are predicting that we might see as many as 200,000 COVID cases a day. Of course, the number that really matters is the number of hospital admissions that occur each day. Once again, it is the health service’s ability to cope that will determine whether we might see the return of restrictions at some point in the future.

All of us in Critical Care have been surprised by the amount of patients we have seen over the past fortnight. Whilst the number of new admissions has slowed down over the weekend, there are still more patients in the hospital that we were expecting. Vaccination was never going to be a silver bullet but we were hoping that it would result in fewer admissions to ICU than we are currently witnessing. The arrival of the Delta variant has laid waste to the sense of optimism that we all felt back in the spring. There is no doubt that fully vaccinated patients are significantly protected from the serious complications of COVID-19. However, after spending the morning on the COVID wards, I can testify that there are still an awful lot of unvaccinated people who are becoming worryingly unwell.

What’s concerning us the most is the effect that a large number of COVID admissions would have on the hospital’s operational capability. At the peak of the second wave the country saw about 4200 patients a day admitted to hospital. Even if we see half as many as this, there would be major disruption to the NHS. Lots of routine operations and appointments would end up being cancelled and an already huge NHS backlog would become even larger. Unfortunately, we are not as prepared for round three as we could be. The number of hospital beds in the United Kingdom has halved over the past 30 years. This is an ongoing trend amongst all developed nations but the UK has been left with far fewer beds relative to its population than many of its neighbours. This is especially true of Intensive Care Beds. We also have fewer doctors and nurses per head of population than almost any other developed country. We are simply not equipped to soak up a large, sustained increase in acutely ill patients.

However, the NHS is really rather good at doing a lot with a little. It’s how we have coped as well as we have with the first and second waves. I have no doubt that we will be able to cope with the third. I’m just worried about what state the NHS will be in when the dust finally settles.

But enough consternation and worry. In order to find something we can all celebrate, I would like to tell you about Brett’s Hamster. At the beginning of the pandemic, my Consultant colleague, Brett, was breaking up with his girlfriend. As part of the separation settlement, Brett got to keep the hamster which he duly renamed ‘Covid’. If truth be told, little Covid was always trying to bite the ex-girlfriend and so Brett felt a certain kinship toward the poor thing. I’m delighted to say that Covid has thrived in her new home and has just recently reached the ripe old age of two years. In order to mark this hamster-related-milestone, Brett has decided to rename her ‘Long Covid’.

Long Covid

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7 komentářů

Richard Cree
Richard Cree
19. 8. 2021

Thank you for those kind words Vicki. So glad that your father-in-law is on the mend. Wishing you and your whole family all the best. Cheers, Richard

To se mi líbí

17. 8. 2021

I have followed your blogs from the begining, they are always very informative.

I just want to say a massive thank you to you and your team even more so at this time while your all looking after my father in law who is currently in ICU3 receiving treatment from what he describes as his NHS angels. He is double vaccinated and the whole family has fought over the past 18months to keep him safe (along with many others in the family), as we knew the risks. We are very much grateful that he was fully vaccinated when the virus finally caught up with him, as I'm sure you will appreciate he may not have been coming out of ICU…

To se mi líbí

22. 7. 2021

Hi Richard,

I am pleased to hear 'Long Covid' is doing well, I had gerbils as a kid, these fluffy little creatures are adorable, less hassle than a dog 🤣

I am pleased you highlighted the UKs lack of beds and ITU beds. This is a metric I was shocked to see when Covid started. A forseeable consequence of years of government pushing 'Care in the Community' aka 'discharge patients when they are too ill and provide no support'.

Would I be correct in assuming that both jabs does not seem to stop transmission and becoming quite ill?

I realise the vaccines have prevented thousands of deaths and I assume reduced the need for mechanical ventilation. It just seems Delta…

To se mi líbí
29. 7. 2021
Reakce na

Hi Richard,

Thank you for taking the time to reply. Your real world, real time insight is invaluable, thank you.

That is very positive that you aren't seeing vaccines waning, it's quite impressive really given the fast development.

Your point about my mother being with other double vaccinated people is something I didn't think about, so yes you are correct, that is a major protection.

As always, thank you.


To se mi líbí
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