It is nearly 600 more than the first wave record (Picture: EPA/PA)
England has recorded another record-breaking day for coronavirus hospital admissions – its fourth in a row.
A total of 3,697 admissions were reported on January 5, passing the previous record of 3,587 on January 4, NHS England figures showed on Thursday evening. January 3 and 2 also broke records.
During the first wave of the virus, admissions peaked at 3,099, on April 1, 2020 – nearly 600 less than Tuesday’s latest high.
The grim figures come as the NHS creaks under the strain of a surge in new Covid-19 infections, with many fearing the health service is near breaking point.
Earlier this week, a leading professor told Metro.co.uk that new admissions could soon exceed 5,000 per day, overwhelming the health service.
On Wednesday, the UK reported a record number of confirmed cases, as 62,322 people were reported to have caught the virus. Today’s figure was around 10,000 lower and will bring some hope that new infections could be dropping as the UK battles the new variant.
But the impact of hundreds of thousands of news infections in recent days is unlikely to have yet been felt in admissions, leaving medics fearing that worse may yet be to come regarding hospitalisations, amid dire warnings that London hospitals could run out of beds within a fortnight.
Ambulances line up outside the Royal London Hospital on Thursday (Picture: EPA)
Tonight, NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens confirmed that there were 50% more coronavirus inpatients in England’s hospitals now than there were during the first wave in April, affecting every region across the country.
He told a Downing Street press conference: ‘That number is accelerating very, very rapidly. We’ve seen an increase of 10,000 hospitalised coronavirus patients just since Christmas Day.
‘That is of course all happening at what is traditionally the busiest time of year for hospitals and the wider NHS.
‘The pressures are real and they are growing, and that is why … it is vital that we do all take the steps necessary to control the growth of infection.’
Citing the issue in London, the epicentre of the second wave, Sir Simon added: ‘We are seeing over 800 patients a day admitted to London hospitals with coronavirus.
‘That’s the equivalent of a new St Thomas’ hospital, full of Covid-patients, every day.’
It came as the number of Covid-19 patients in hospital in England alone stood at a record 28,246 as of 8am on January 7, according to the latest figures from NHS England.
That is an increase of 24% on a week ago.
The 3,697 hospitalisation figure comprises all patients admitted in the previous 24 hours who were known to have Covid-19, plus any patients diagnosed in hospital with Covid-19 in the previous 24 hours.
Northern Ireland saw 59 new in patients with the virus on the same day but it is not clear if a further number of patients were diagnosed.
Scotland is yet to announce data for January 5, but in the days leading up to it hospitalisations there were roughly around 100 a day. Wales saw 61 admissions on January 3.
Assuming there were around 160 admissions in the two countries, that would mean the UK is likely to have recorded well over 3,900 hospitalisations that day, when added to England and Northern Ireland’s tally.
Metro.co.uk has contacted the devolved governments for clarification on the latest daily figures.
It comes as St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south-west London, had to rapidly expand provisions.
ICU consultant Dr Mohamed Ahmed, 40, told the PA news agency: ‘When a nurse has care of one patient, there’s that ratio for a reason – every detail needs to be looked at.
‘When they need to look after three or four patients, their standards are lowered.
‘They feel they have to do their best but they come away feeling demotivated and demoralised. That’s really apparent. They clearly want to do the best they can.’
Matron Lindsey Izard said pressures on the service were immense.
‘It’s not just about Covid,’ she told PA.
‘If you go up a ladder this weekend and fall off it, there’s a chance you won’t get an ICU bed.’
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