A second wave of covid-19 contamination this European winter could cause up to 120,000 deaths in UK hospitals, in the worst “reasonable” scenario without adequate preparation, according to a study by the Academy of Medical Sciences to be published today.
“It is not a forecast, it is a possibility”, emphasized in a statement Professor Stephen Holgate, who commanded the preparation of the report by 37 experts, requested by the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The report warns that “intense preparation” is needed from now on to reduce the risk of the public health service (NHS) collapsing this European winter.
Some studies fear that the new coronavirus, responsible for the death of about 45,000 people in the United Kingdom, the country most affected by the disease in Europe, spreads more strongly during the cold season.
While the report explains that there is a “high degree of uncertainty” about the evolution of the COVID-19 epidemic, the “worst-case scenario” predicts an increase in the virus’s reproduction rate of 1.7 from September. This figure, which corresponds to the average number of people who become infected through another person already infected, is currently between 0.7-0.9 in the country.
The predictions established on the basis of this type of scenario cite peaks of deaths and admissions to hospitals in January and February 2021 “similar or worse” to those of the first wave of spring, coinciding with the usual increase in activity in the hospital system due to seasonal diseases .
The number of COVID-19-related deaths between September 2020 and June 2021 could reach 119,900.
However, the estimate does not take into account government actions to reduce the rate of contamination, nor the use of dexamethasone, a corticoid that reduces the mortality rate of critically ill patients, according to the study authors.
Experts argue, among other measures, to carry out information campaigns for the public, to increase the capacity for diagnostic tests and for people in risk groups and health workers to protect themselves from the most serious effects of the flu getting vaccinated.