Despite low infection rates, South West could run out of COVID hospital beds in 2 weeks

People are reasonably asking why? (E.g. BBC Spotlight last night). 

This devonlive article below gives the immediate explanation.

The fundamental problem was explained by Owl on 19 March:

“The south west looks most vulnerable in terms of ratios. It has the oldest population (so highest expected mortality) and lowest number of critical care beds per head of population. The modelling suggests it needs six times more than currently exists there (600 per cent).”

“On the upside, the south west currently has a relatively low infection rate. Public Health England (PHE) should be doing everything possible to keep it that way through aggressive testing and containment of new cases [If only! – Owl]. If the virus gets out of control in the south west it is likely to sweep through the region’s retirement towns and nursing homes, overwhelming local hospitals.”

Owl hopes that all those who went along with bed closures locally will reflect upon their actions – we are all in this together – no-one is immune, no-one can “buy their way out”.

See also 

Paul Greaves

The South West will be one of the first regions to run out of hospital capacity if nothing is done to stop the spread of coronavirus, according to a document presented to the government.

Based on NHS England modelling from 28 October, it warns the NHS would be unable to accept any more patients by Christmas – even if the Nightingale hospitals are used, reports the BBC.

It says that the South West and the Midlands are the least equipped to cope – and could run out of capacity within a fortnight.

The documents makes grim reading and comes amid reports that the government is considering a national lockdown of some form to halt a surge in COVID infections. The plan would be to ease pressure on the NHS in the hope the measures could be relaxed for Christmas. But tougher restrictions will have a severe impact on people’s livelihoods.

According to the BBC, documents suggest the UK is on course for a much higher death toll than during the first wave unless further restrictions are introduced.

Papers prepared by the government’s pandemic modelling group, SPI-Mseen, are understood to be part of a presentation to the Prime Minister.

All the models predict that hospitalisations are likely to peak in mid-December, with deaths rising until the end of the year before falling in January. The government will hope that by then a vaccine for the virus will have been signed off.

Scientists believe it is now inevitable that the whole country will end up in some form of lockdown to prevent more than 500 Covid deaths a day over winter – and a lockdown now is the only way families will be able spend Christmas together – reports The Mirror.

Sage is advising that it is not too late to save Christmas – but it will take a longer lockdown than the two week ‘circuit breaker’ they recommended last month.

The current estimate of the R number in the UK – the number of people each infected person passes the virus on to on average – is between 1.1 and 1.3, indicating that cases are still growing.

Sage member Prof Gabriel Scally told the BBC’s Newsnight that a national lockdown was inevitable.

“The R number is still far too high. Everyone knows that these tiers are not working and they’re not going to work.