Vaccines reduce tidal waves of Covid deaths to a ripple

Vaccines reduce tidal waves of Covid deaths to a ripple
Vaccines reduce tidal waves of Covid deaths to a ripple

Vaccines have reduced tidal waves of coronavirus deaths to a ripple even as cases have surged, analysis reveals.

Covid hospital patients are typically younger, less sick and being discharged faster than in previous waves, as the elderly reap the benefits of getting their jabs sooner.

People are now much less likely to be infected, end up in hospital, need a ventilator or die. And there was more cause for optimism last night as Department of Health figures showed daily infections dropping to the lowest level for ten days.

Yesterday another 36,389 cases were recorded – down nearly one third from the 51,870 reported last Friday. Britain has now recorded a week-on-week drop in cases for two days in a row – the first time this has happened since early May.

The Daily Mail audit – based on Government data – compared key indicators from the current wave with those last autumn and winter. The first wave of the pandemic in spring last year has been excluded because there was so little testing.

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The graph shows the number of deaths during three waves of the pandemic, with the blue line indicating the current wave, the yellow line showing the autumn wave beginning August 5 and the red line showing the winter wave starting November 29

The graph shows the number of deaths during three waves of the pandemic, with the blue line indicating the current wave, the yellow line showing the autumn wave beginning August 5 and the red line showing the winter wave starting November 29

Our analysis reveals:

During the winter wave, when daily cases were averaging what they are now, there were almost 27 times more Covid deaths each day and nine times more people in hospital;  There are currently 125 patients on a ventilator for every 10,000 daily new infections, compared with 2,312 per 10,000 cases at the same point in the previous wave;  People aged 54 and under account for 60 per cent of virus patients admitted to hospital in England during this wave, compared with just 22 per cent during the winter wave;  Some 87.6 per cent of people have now received at least one dose of the vaccine, up from 28.9 per cent at the same time point in the winter wave.

NHS doctors say the impact of the hugely successful vaccination effort is clear on hospital wards.

It means more staff are free to tackle the record backlog of routine surgery, including hip and knee replacements, which was severely disrupted last year.

Dr Kevin O’Kane, a consultant in acute medicine at a large hospital in central London, described ‘almost apocalyptic’ scenes that filled him with fear at the start of the pandemic. ‘I have never seen so many sick people in such a short space of time suffering in the same way,’ he said.

The graph shows the number of patients admitted to hospital per 10,000 Covid-19 cases across the last three waves of the pandemic

The graph shows the number of patients admitted to hospital per 10,000 Covid-19 cases across the last three waves of the pandemic

But the 58-year-old, a doctor for more three decades, said: ‘Now we are in a very different position. The message is: the vaccination works.

‘With the patients admitted, the vast majority will not have severe illness and won’t go into intensive care. The demographic is different.

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‘The youngest person we have had is 22. Then we have people in their 40s and 50s rather than the very old people we saw in previous waves. We had six pregnant ladies a couple of weeks ago. It’s a whole new ball game.’ The seven-day average for daily Covid infections earlier this week was 46,024, with 711 hospital admissions, 567 patients on ventilators and 42 deaths.

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