It is too early to predict when the coronavirus will peak – but the lockouts are promising, says one of the UK’s top doctors.
Assistant Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jenny Harries said the social distancing restrictions applied earlier this week are helping to move the country “in the right direction”.
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But she told a Downing Street press briefing tonight that some of the measures could stay in place for six months.
When asked when we could expect the virus to peak, she replied, “I’m not going to predict a specific time for this.
“The reason is that we are just beginning to see a bite in the social distancing interventions that have been put in place.
“It would be far too early to predict. ”
Dr. Harries said, however, that the country was beginning to see “some useful movement” in the curve.
She continued: “What we will be looking for is a change in slope rather than a very steep upward curve, we will be looking for a gentler slope.
“But we must not take our foot off the pedal.
“People have really cooperated and over the past few days – the public has truly understood that this is something very serious and their actions, wherever they are, will save lives.
“So too early to tell, but start to move in the right direction. ”
Six month measures
He was also asked how long Britain could expect to remain subject to social distancing.
Dr. Harries said, “We could see lockouts moving forward in the next six months.
“It would not be an implausible result.
“But I also said that I think looking at the curve, it might be possible … to start moving that. ”
His comments came as the death toll from Covid-19 jumped 113 from last night to 578 deaths in the UK.
On Wednesday, Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London and one of the scientists advising the government said that if current measures continue, demand for intensive care will peak in two to three weeks and is expected decrease thereafter.
Dr. Harries also urged people to take care of their physical and mental health, adding that the 1.5 million people who were told not to go out for 12 weeks had received letters with links to how to protect their health. mental.
More free time
Speaking of everyone, she said: “If people don’t go to work and this often creates stress in terms of travel time, they have more free time for themselves.
“And it could be the best opportunity the whole country has to say” I will use my exercise session every day to make sure that when it is finished I will be super fit and so will my family. ”
“And in fact, if you have something restricted, it suddenly becomes a very pleasant event
“Even if you didn’t want to jog on the street before, doing it now could be a relief and a positive thing for all of us.” ”
This comes as the British Medical Association warned that the government has so far not given priority to returning self-insulating medical personnel to the front line through testing despite assurances from Boris Johnson.
The chairman, Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, told the health and social care committee that the instructions to self-isolate in the event of symptoms of Covid-19 hampered the ability of the NHS to cope with the crisis.
He said: “At this time of year, it is estimated that 10% of the population may have a symptom of temperature or cough in a non-Covid situation.
“We have had situations where many GPs and hospitals were understaffed, the self-isolated staff told us that they felt able to work but followed the advice, and that if they could get tested, he would come back to work.
It seems counterintuitive that we downsize when we need it most
Dr Chaand Nagpaul
“It seems counterintuitive that we reduce our workforce when we need it most.
“On March 16, we heard the Prime Minister announce that health care workers would be given priority, but that did not materialize. ”
Dr. Nagpaul said there were problems with the “adequacy and supply” of personal protective equipment (PPE) for NHS personnel.
He said the experience of ringing the NHS PPE hotline was for doctors to buy their own equipment.
“We are inundated with worries and concerns from doctors – this is the biggest problem right now,” he told the committee.
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“I know we have had assurances of increased deliveries, but we still find far too many of our members telling us that this has not translated into the field.
“Even this morning, I received emails from doctors telling me that the masks were exhausted, that they should wear them longer than they should and so on.
“In general, when we call the hotline, we are told to buy it ourselves – that is the advice we receive. ”