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More than 4,000 coronavirus patients are on a ventilator – a new record

Written by on 23/01/2021

The UK has hit another milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number of patients on a ventilator passing 4,000 for the first time.

A total of 4,076 COVID-19 patients are using a ventilator in the UK, according to government data.

The number of people using a ventilator in UK hospitals is now higher than it was at the first peak of the outbreak in spring last year.

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Patients on ventilators are generally among those suffering from the most severe symptoms of coronavirus.

The record rise in the number of ventilator beds being filled comes as the UK recorded another 1,348 coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday, bringing the total to 97,329.

However, the seven-day rolling average on positive tests shows that infections are now falling, which suggests that lockdown may be having an effect on case rates.

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It is expected that hospitalisations will continue to rise into next week, despite the fall in infections, due to a lag in the amount of time it takes for someone to be admitted with the virus.

As of Friday, more than 5.8 million Britons have had at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine since the start of the rollout last month, with scientists and medics hoping that by giving jabs to the priority groups, hospitalisations and deaths will fall to manageable levels.

However, senior doctors have called on England’s chief medical officer to halve the gap between the first and second doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said the gap between doses being given to patients should be cut from 12 weeks to six.

Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, defended the move, telling a Downing Street news conference on Friday: “By extending the time, we’re allowing many more people to be vaccinated.”

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He said that the first dose gives the main bulk of the protection, but the exact number differs by vaccine.

“In both cases, we think the great majority of protection is given by the first vaccine,” he said, adding: “It lasts for a reasonable period of time.”

 Sky News

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