Sheffield GP warns 'there’s a pandemic out there still burning' after being confronted by 'angry' patient
A Sheffield GP has warned that the Covid pandemic is far from over after being confronted by an ‘angry’ patient over delays.
Dr Andrew Lee is concerned that the Government is sending out the wrong message ahead of so-called ‘Freedom Day’ tomorrow, Monday, July 19, when Covid restrictions are set to be removed despite infection rates and hospital admissions rising across the UK.
Tweeting on Saturday, Dr Lee, who is also a reader in public health at the University of Sheffield, said: “Had an angry patient in clinic yesterday when I told him delays likely for hospital referrals. He thought July 19 meant everything is back to normal.
“Reckon many think that & don’t fully comprehend there’s a pandemic out there still burning that doesn’t follow Gov proclamations.”
Sheffield’s weekly Covid infection rate stands at 395.7 cases per 100,000 people during the week ending July 12 – up by more than a quarter on the previous seven days and higher than the UK-wide rate of 359.2.
The latest figures show that across the UK the number of Covid patients in hospital rose by more than 40 per cent in a week to 3,964 on Thursday, July 15.
On Friday, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals described how over the last 10 days it had seen a ‘steep rise’ in the number of people being admitted to hospital with Covid and it was now treating nearly 50 coronavirus patients when just a fortnight ago that number had been in single figures.
The trust’s chief executive Kirsten Major this weekend urged people to get jabbed as she warned that if levels of community infection did not come down ‘more NHS staff will isolate and we will not be able to do all we need to’.
She said cases were rising in all groups but the rise was ‘massively dominated’ by those who had received no jabs or only one.
Greg Fell, Sheffield’s director of public health, warned against the dangers of removing all safety measures too soon.
“Living with Covid-19 is not the same thing as letting it rip. We should proceed carefully not recklessly,” he said.
Although the legal requirement to wear face masks is being lifted from Monday, with nightclubs allowed to reopen and no limit on capacity at theatres, cinemas and other venues, many businesses are sticking with precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Passengers will still be asked to wear masks on buses and in many shops, for example, and some pubs are asking drinkers to keep wearing masks when not seated.
The number of people self-isolating has caused disruption in Sheffield, meanwhile, with train and tram services disrupted due to staff shortages.
Boris Johnson is among those who have been told by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate, after health secretary Sajid Javid tested positive for Covid.
The Prime Minister initially planned to take daily tests rather than self-isolating, as part of what was described as a pilot programme, but was forced into a U-turn following a public backlash.
Sheffield Heeley MP tweeted this morning before the volte-face: “@RobertJenrick just said with a totally straight face that we should all continue to self-isolate if we get pinged.
“Why is this 'long-established' system that allows the PM and Chancellor to gad about not available to all key workers?”