The Prime Minister’s social distancing measures are no longer temporary after the government were given some alarming figures on the NHS’ ability to cope with the pandemic.
Members of the public were advised to start working from home where possible and “avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues.”
While the measures were once temporary, they have now been extended.
Decisions escalated further as yesterday, Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of the NHS, asked every hospital in the country to suspend all non-urgent surgery for at least three months.
He warned the outbreak is “arguably the greatest challenge” the health service has ever faced.”
The new social-distancing measures will now be held in place until a vaccine or treatment is found.
This could be a year or more.
The expert warned that if they were lifted early, many more would likely die – and that would be a political choice.
Now the academic on whose data the decision was based upon has spoken out about what the outbreak could mean for the NHS.
The data taken from Italy that around 30 per cent of hospitalised cases needed intensive care .
This was combined with and an assessment of what the NHS could cope with.
An analysis of data compiled by Imperial College London showed that without government intervention there would be almost 300 critical care beds occupied per 100,00 of the population by June.
However, this is likely to fall by two thirds with household isolation and household quarantine.
Prof Fergusson explains this pivotal change in his report: “In the UK, this conclusion has only been reached in the last few days,
“With the refinement of estimates of likely ICU demand due to COVID-19 based on experience in Italy and the UK (previous planning estimates assumed half the demand now estimated) and with the NHS providing increasing certainty around the limits of hospital surge capacity.”
The report details likely hospitalisation figures by age.
Overall it predicts nearly 4.4 per cent of the population will be hospitalised.
This is predicted to rise to 27.3 per cent for those over 80.
“We assume that 30 per cent of those that are hospitalised will require critical care”, it adds.
The model predicts 260,000 deaths on the government’s original “mitigation” strategy.
A mixture of social-distancing measures will slow the spread of infection but not completely interrupt it.
“[Mitigation] could reduce peak healthcare demand by two thirds and deaths by half. However, the resulting epidemic would still likely result in 260,000 deaths and therefore overwhelm the health system,” the report says.