Famous lines of “Game of Thrones“About approaching the dangers of this winter might prove accurate, say, scientists at a new report. The researchers stated that the second wave of infections could hit Britain this winter, and this would be worse than the first wave that claimed as many as 120,000 lives.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused by acute coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) respiratory syndrome has gripped the world, and now experts warn that it is far from over. To date, the virus has infected 13.28 million people and claimed more than 577,000 lives worldwide.
Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 – also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19. isolated from a patient in the US, emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. Images were captured and colored at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Montana. Credit: NIAID
Current status in the UK
To date, there have been 292,931 cases of SARS-CoV-2 detected in the UK, and the infection has caused 45,053 deaths in the country. Over time the death rate and new cases have declined in the UK, and in July to date, there were 1,100 deaths, the researchers said. However, there may be no room for complacency that they warn.
According to the nation’s scientific advisors from Academy of Medical Sciences, which was asked to predict using modeling analysis, the worst is yet to come.
The worst worst case scenario for the winter COVID-19 epidemic in the UK. This model assumes that Rt rises to 1.7 from September 2020 to July 2021. (A) daily infections, (B) COVID-19 deaths caused in hospitals (ie excluding care homes and over-deaths in the community), (C ) general beds are occupied and (D) critical care beds are occupied. Solid lines show medians, dark bands interquartile range, and pale bands at credible intervals of 95% (CrI).
Predictions and warnings
37 researchers in the team say that winter deaths can range between 24,500 and 251,000 in hospitals in the UK. This will be related to coronavirus infection. Deaths can peak between January and February 2021, they speculate.
These figures are predicted in a scenario where there are no locks or drugs available to treat any infection or vaccine to prevent COVID-19. At present, there is no specific drug that can be used to treat COVID-19, and the treatment is mainly supportive and symptomatic.
Around 120 vaccine candidates are currently undergoing clinical trials in various parts of the world, including one promising agent tested by Oxford researchers. However, nothing is available for use in humans.
Lockdown is the total closure of offices, businesses, schools and public transportation to break the transmission chain. The predicted number of deaths does not take into account locking, availability of effective drugs or vaccines during this winter.
This report was requested by the chief British scientific advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance. The researchers write, “Risk … can be reduced if we take action immediately.” The actual status of a pandemic during winter is uncertain. However, what is clear is that the virus can survive better during winter and thus can spread easily among people who are trapped indoors during winter. The report states, “In cold, rainy or windy weather people are reluctant to open windows because they make cold winds and therefore they often have lower ventilation rates in winter. This can be a special challenge in modern airtight buildings that have a high level of infiltration very low for energy efficiency and for low income people who are trying to keep down heating costs. “
Burden on the health system
Thus, COVID-19 has a high level of infectivity but a low risk of complications and death. Only a small proportion of people – especially the elderly and those who suffer from other diseases, are at risk of complications.
These people may need intensive care and ventilation and are more at risk of dying. However, the spread of massive infections can also lead to extraordinary health care systems. This has been seen throughout Europe and in the United States for the past few months.
The NHS, too, is under pressure to meet the needs of thousands of patients. With the reduced number of COVID-19 cases, there has been a revival of flu cases and non-COVID-19 cases, the researchers explained.
The second wave of coronavirus infections can stretch the system to its capacity, they speculate. They say that there is a waiting list of non-coronavirus cases and this could reach 10 million by the end of this year if the situation with COVID-19 continues to worsen.
Prof. Stephen Holgate, a breathing specialist from the University Hospital of Southampton NHS Trust, is the chair of this report. He said in his statement, “This is not a prediction – but it is a possibility. Modeling shows that deaths could be higher with the new wave of COVID-19 this winter. But the risk of this event can be reduced if we take immediate action.”
He said that at this time, the numbers were low, and this could be “a window of critical opportunity to help us prepare for the worst that winter can throw at us.”
Co-author Prof. Dame Anne Johnson, from the Academy of Medical Sciences, said in a statement, “Facing these potential challenges, and after a difficult year, it will be easy to feel hopeless and helpless. But this report shows that we can act now to change things for the better. “He said,” COVID-19 has not disappeared. We need to do everything we can to stay healthy this winter. “
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has assured that the government already plans to handle the second wave this winter. A government statement said, “We remain vigilant, and the government will ensure the resources needed to avoid the second peak that will flood our NHS.”
Recommendations for prevention of the second wave
The report’s authors have made certain recommendations for overcoming problems with the second wave of the pandemic.
- They urged further testing for infections and intensive tracking of all contacts of infected people to prevent the spread of infection.
- A broad campaign to get more people vaccinated against seasonal flu to reduce the burden of flu cases this winter
- Prevent transmission of coronavirus infection to other patients by making the area “corona-free” in the hospital.
- Availability of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers to prevent infection and spread.
Window to act now
The researchers added that at present, many of these predicted figures are based on a modeling system, and if the parameters are changed slightly, the number of deaths and hospitalization can change significantly.
However, researchers urge the general public and policy makers to prepare for the worst case scenario while hoping for the best. “There’s a lot to do, and we don’t have much time to do it,” Johnson said. “A window to action now.”