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Medical experts have warned that the health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic is getting worse as hospitals are again filling up with patients suffering from the deadly disease.
Surgeries have been cancelled so that physicians can be reallocated to treating those suffering from the Covid-19 virus.
The number of members of the public testing positive for the virus has reached over 53,000 per day – although deaths have dipped to 445 per day.
Senior doctor, Prof Andrew Goddard, even warned the current case numbers are "mild" compared to what was coming next week.
President of the Royal College of Physicians, Dr Goddard, has also been quoted by the Mail Online as stating he is “really worried” for healthcare workers battling the virus in the coming months.
While he has also warned that the current figure of 53,285 daily infections looks “set to rise”.
Meanwhile, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Neil Mortensen, has likened the spiralling crisis to that of watching a car crash “in slow motion”.
He told The Times: “At the same time as people returned to work, to restaurants and shops, the new more contagious variant insidiously took hold in the south and east of England.
“Hospitals started to see the effects in mid-December, and across many parts of the country now, scheduled operations for hip or knee replacements, or ear, nose and throat operations, have had to be cancelled.
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“Thousands of people already waiting, in pain or immobile for many months, will have been sorely disappointed this Christmas to have their operation cancelled or postponed.”
A nurse who works at Whittington Hospital anonymously warned: "I'm worried about patient safety because if these little things are happening now when we're short and it's busy, it's only going to get worse.
"I don't know what else will happen – it worries me."
Images from hospitals in London have shows patients being treated in the back of ambulances amid fear wards are overwhelmed.
Reports have emerged that some hospitals are running low on oxygen tanks to treat those suffering from the virus which affects the lungs.
While all operations in London – except for emergency treatment and planned surgeries for cancer sufferers – have reportedly been cancelled in order to allow doctors to focus their skills on battling the virus.
Appearing on BBC Breakfast, Professor Goddard expressed concerns that the new strains of the virus – which experts fear is more contagious, but not more deadly – combined with people breaching lockdown to celebrate Christmas could lead to higher infection rates and hospitalisations.
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He said: “There's no doubt that Christmas is going to have a big impact, the new variant is also going to have a big impact.
“We know that it is more infectious, more transmissible, so I think the large numbers that we're seeing in the South East, in London, in South Wales, is now going to be reflected over the next month, two months even, over the rest of the country.”
He added: “This new variant is definitely more infectious and is spreading across the whole of the country.
"It seems very likely that we are going to see more and more cases, wherever people work in the UK, and we need to be prepared for that.”
Earlier in the week, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was approved for use in the UK and will be distributed to help beat the virus.
The vaccine is regarded as a “game changer” thanks to it’s cheap price point and ability to be stored at regular fridge temperatures – raising hopes it can be distributed across the UK easily.
In contrast, the Pfizer vaccine – which has been being administered to members of the public since the beginning of December – had to be stored at minus 70 temperatures and is more expensive.
The Government this week confirmed one million British nationals have been vaccinated so far – with the aim of vaccinating two million per week to help crush the virus and allow life to return to normal.
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