More of the sickest patients are now surviving as doctors gain more knowledge about the virus. The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 has fallen by 96 per cent since the peak of the epidemic in April. And one consultant even declared: “We’re almost reaching herd immunity.” Patients have a much better chance of recovering thanks to new treatments and fewer vulnerable people falling ill. The proportion of sufferers vulnerable people fall ill. The proportion of sufferers dying after admission to intensive care has halved since mid-April. Analysis of data from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre found severely ill patients were now significantly more likely to survive than in the early weeks of the outbreak.
It said their risk of dying following admission to intensive care fell from 42 to 20 per cent between April and July.
Anthony Gordon, professor of anaesthesia and critical care at Imperial College London, said a range of factors were behind the improvements.
He said: “As this was a new disease we learnt quickly how to treat it and doctors very quickly adjusted.
“Clinical trials in this country have developed new evidence to know the best treatments. Use of steroids – dexamethasone – I think that has helped improve outcomes.
“More recently we’ve seen as the surge has eased that we’re treating fewer patients. That has eased the pressure on healthcare, particularly on intensive care units.”
Britain beating coronavirus: Doctors declare huge success in fight with the virus
Prof Gordon said vulnerable people were usually more likely to become sick in the early days of a disease outbreak, meaning people falling ill now may be better able to fight the virus.
He admitted the situation at the height of the crisis was “like nothing any of us has seen before,” adding: “The normal intensive care beds were overwhelmed.
“We had to expand the use of intensive care into other areas in the hospital.
“We were absolutely pushed to the limit and now that has eased. There are far fewer patients who are critically ill now and that makes it much easier to look after these seriously ill patients.”
Some 638 people were being treated in English hospitals for the virus on Friday, down 96 per cent from 17,172 on April 12.
Britain beating coronavirus: Professor Gordon said the UK has almost reached herd immunity
The number of people in mechanical ventilation beds had also fallen by 98 per cent to 57. This means nine per cent of Covid-19 hospital patients are now in ventilation beds, down from 16 percent three months ago.
Chief executive of NHS Providers Chris Hopson said: “The steep decline in Covid patients reflects the fantastic work by trusts and frontline staff in hospitals, mental health, community and ambulance services in treating thousands of people, often in incredibly challenging circumstances.
“It also shows the way people across the country rallied to the call to protect the NHS.” However, he warned that the Covid-19 threat had not vanished and the NHS faces a tough few months preparing for winter while restarting routine services.
Mr Hopson said: “This progress has been hard won, but could easily be lost if we allow ourselves to be complacent. It may well be the greatest test for the NHS is still
Meanwhile, Dr Ron Daniels, an intensive care consultant in Birmingham, said he thought it was “quite likely that we’re almost reaching herd immunity”.
Britain beating coronavirus: The number of people in ventilation beds has dropped from 98% to 57%
He said there had been a “huge downturn” in admissions in his area and that he was hopeful they would stay low.
Herd immunity means a high enough proportion of the public is immune to the disease to arrest its spread.
But it is still unclear whether herd immunity can be achieved without a vaccine.
Dr Daniels added that while a second spike in admissions could not be ruled out, it was “highly unlikely”.
He said: “The pubs have been open for over a month, people have been socially interacting heavily during that time and the natural history of this disease is that if you contract the virus and you’re going to end up in hospital, you’re pretty much in hospital within 15 days.”
Britain beating coronavirus: Professor Gordon said there was a “downturn” in hospital admissions
The promising news came as officials yesterday reported eight further coronavirus deaths, taking the UK toll to 46,574.
Some 1,062 new infections were confirmed across the UK, the biggest rise since June 25.
A total of 310,825 people have now tested positive and cases appear to be rising in recent days. But officials have said this is partly due to more targeted testing in areas with outbreaks.
NHS national medical director Stephen Powis yesterday paid tribute to staff who kept the health service on its feet at the height of the crisis.
He said: “NHS staff delivered lifesaving care to more than 105,000 people with coronavirus during the pandemic.
“It’s a testament to our hard-working doctors and nurses, who have shown the world yet again that NHS staff are the best of the best.
“The health service in England cared for everyone who needed it while keeping essential treatments and tests also running – including 65,000 patients treated for cancer – thanks to the safe and rapid redesign of services.
“As we move beyond the first wave the NHS is launching new treatments to help people recover from long-term virus symptoms.
“The NHS is also scaling up routine treatment back to pre- pandemic levels, boosting our diagnostic capacity, so more people can get cancer scans faster. So waiting times are kept to an absolute minimum.
“Our ongoing ‘help us help you‘ campaign is letting everybody know if you have a health issue and need care the NHS is open and you should come forward for care.”
Source Daily Express :: UK Feed